Daily Links Jul 12

Top Post
Australia falls further in rankings on progress towards UN Sustainable Development Goals
John Thwaites and Tahl Kestin
A new report reveals Australia is lagging behind most wealthy nations in working towards the globally agreed goals. It’s performing particularly badly on climate and environmental indicators.

Today’s Celebration
Aniversario Puerto Maldonado – Peru
Battle of Boyne/Orangemen Day – Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada
Independence Day – Kiribati, Sao Tome & Principe
Micronesian Day – Micronesia
Petrovdan (Orthodox) – Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia
Simplicity Day – https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/simplicity-day/
More about Jul 12 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_12

Climate Change
Heatwave seems to make manmade climate change real for Americans
The record-breaking high temperatures across much of North America appear to be shaping people’s thinking, a survey finds

Yes, your energy bills are too high. Here’s how the ACCC thinks prices can be slashed
The consumer watchdog believes Australians are paying too much for their electricity. The ACCC says power bills can be reduced by at least 25 per cent, if governments adopt a series of recommendations from its report on the energy market.

Turnbull pushes back on coal pressure after ACCC report
‘We want to be supporting lower prices,’ says PM, backing ACCC’s criticism of subsidies

Fancy seeing you: energy foes Abbott, Frydenberg and Credlin to face off in US
An intimate gathering in Washington puts the energy minister in the room with two people trying to wreck his policy

Energy industry raises concern over speed of ACCC reforms
The energy industry is tentatively backing the ACCC’s recommendations to fix a broken energy market but remains wary of the unintended consequences of rapid reform.

ACCC wants federal rooftop solar subsidy abolished by 2021
ACCC calls for federal solar subsidy to be scrapped by 2021, in report that documents how consumers have been screwed by networks, generators and retailers. Its response: Kill rooftop solar, and get government to underwrite new projects that could include gas and coal

Consumers to save $40 on power bills as regulator cracks down on ‘gold-plating’
Consumers could save $40 a year on their power bills under a regulator’s plan to cut the profits of electricity network companies.

Taste of the future: Australia’s southern states at 50% renewables
Last week, in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, the share of renewable energy was above 50% for most of the time.

PM weighs coal fix for energy wars [$]
A proposal to guarantee new dispatchable power generation is expected to be taken to cabinet with the PM’s support.

PM blames Labor for energy woes [$]
Labor governments were responsible for electricity price hikes and blackouts, the prime minister declared yesterday.

Anthony Albanese says Labor will focus on relieving ‘immense pressure’ on cities
Shadow cities minister says Labor will overhaul Turnbull’s city deals initiative to protect against ‘political whim’

Murray-Darling Basin Authority: former employee accuses agency of manipulating data
Royal commissioner labels government’s approach ‘irregular and deplorable’

The end of the yellow bin? Here’s why it should be
There are calls for us to ditch our yellow bins, with them not being as environmentally friendly as we may think.

Rats are wreaking havoc on our coral reefs
Researchers have found that introduced black rats are reducing the number of fish on coral reefs.

Restoring electricity affordability and Australia’s competitive advantage
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
This report finds that there is a serious electricity affordability problem for consumers and businesses. The report sets out 56 recommendations to reset the National Electricity Market, boost competition, reduce costs and improve consumer and business outcomes.

Regulator gives Turnbull a power price target
AFR editorial
ACCC says power prices could be cut by a quarter – and that puts the onus onto the government to achieve them

Light bulb moment: How many recommendations does it take to unplug our energy mess?
Stephen Bartholomeusz
It is a measure of the complexity of the issues, the scale and number of the deficiencies and the difficulty of responding to them that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s inquiry into energy affordability has come up with 56 recommendations.

ACCC can’t decide if electricity market needs more or less regulation
Peter Hannam
It seems Rod Sims, head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, can’t decide whether the answer to our “broken” electricity market is more or less government intervention.

Renewables statistics realities
Geoff Carmody
These average capacity multipliers will also multiply total costs of ensuring reliable power even as $/MWh renewables generation costs fall.

Australia falls further in rankings on progress towards UN Sustainable Development Goals
John Thwaites and Tahl Kestin
A new report reveals Australia is lagging behind most wealthy nations in working towards the globally agreed goals. It’s performing particularly badly on climate and environmental indicators.

Warming oceans are changing Australia’s fishing industry
Alistair Hobday, Beth Fulton and Gretta Pecl
Australia’s oceans are warming faster than the global average, and fish are moving south as a result.

Nuclear power advocates are running out of fuel [$]
John Quiggin
Advocates for nuclear energy will tell you that the greenies are holding back project viability, but say nothing about obsolete technology.

ACCC report says little new, but demonstrates the painful arc of neoliberalism [$]
Bernard Keane
There’s no mystery or scandal about how we ended up with a badly flawed electricity market — it has followed the broader path of neoliberal reforms in Australia.

Massive surge in rooftop solar would bring end to Australia’s coal era
Giles Parkinson
The biggest threat to Australia’s legacy coal fired generators is not the explosion of wind and solar farms, or even the settings of the country’s emissions policy: Right now, it’s the continued boom in rooftop solar.

No subsidies in merit-based world [$]
Tony Wood
Proven technologies face challenges the national energy guarantee can fix.

Right policies can fix power prices [$]
Judith Sloan
Unlike Tony Wood of the Grattan Institute, I am not prepared to raise the white flag when it comes to electricity prices.

Cost of green schemes exposed [$]
Australian editorial
Six years ago today The Australian warned that consumers on middle and lower incomes would pay a high price for renewable energy targets

Apply heat to the energy bosses as temperatures fall [$]
Telegraph editorial
Sydney’s evenings will remain chilly for the next week at least, with not a single night-time low predicted to reach into the double digits. Low temperatures mean high electricity usage. And high electricity usage means ever-higher electricity charges.

Watchdog echoes Abbott’s solution on energy [$]
Andrew Bolt
Australia’s competition watchdog has echoed Tony Abbott’s recommendation to buy, build or subsidise coal-fired generators, so why not finally tear up the Paris deal, too.

Light bulb moment for nation’s energy market [$]
Courier Mail editorial
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has delivered a scathing report card on our energy market. Now it’s time for change.

‘We must get people out of cars’: Coalition to extend train line in Melbourne’s south-east
Residents in Melbourne’s booming outer south-eastern suburbs are promised new train stations by the Victorian Opposition to help ease peak hour traffic, as the Government’s plan to expand the congested Monash Freeway to ten lanes is given the go-ahead.

Green light for $500m to turn the Monash into a 10-lane mega highway
Half a billion dollars in federal money has been unlocked to turn the Monash Freeway into a 10-lane mega highway.

Are ‘on demand’ buses the way of the future? [$]
The days of the traditional bus route could soon be numbered, with Melbourne suburbs touted as ideal locations for new on-demand services.

Victoria: On the move … to more traffic [$]
Craig Richards
Premier Daniel Andrews and Matthew Guy have both tapped in to the hearts and minds of traffic-weary voters and sold the dream of connected freeways. https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/craig-richards-victoria-on-the-move-to-more-traffic/news-story/36aca5f7c1bb3e8519f3cb02aec5c82d

New South Wales
Coal seam gas: NSW licences effectively extended indefinitely due to legal loophole
Gladys Berejiklian’s government accused of allowing companies to conduct ‘production by stealth’

How diving for abalone could have landed this great-grandfather in prison
Kevin Mason has been gathering seafood for his family for decades, but the practice recently landed the 71-year-old in trouble with the law. It’s deeply angered Indigenous elders who want better legal protection for their community.

Secret reports raise concerns about oversight of project costs
A secret investigation into a bungled $1 billion technology systems upgrade at NSW’s main transport agency has painted an alarming picture of the oversight of taxpayer money, warning that inaccurate reporting of costs is likely to extend to other agencies and projects.

University of Canberra wants light rail through middle of campus
The University of Canberra wants a future stage of light rail to run through the centre of their campus “like Bourke Street mall” in Melbourne, as the ACT government admits the idea has “huge potential”.

National energy guarantee: Queensland warned it risks ‘writing a blank cheque’
Smart Energy Council says state should reject NEG or make support for guarantee conditional

LNP rules out power asset sales
Queensland’s LNP opposition has rejected a call by the ACCC to sell off some state-owned power assets, while welcoming a plan to split those generators.

LNP members call for a review of TransLink
A Brisbane councillor has criticised TransLink as not being responsive and argued it should be scrutinised.

Qld breakthrough could make EV batteries cheaper, cleaner
A University of Queensland process for extracting and transforming metals needed for EV batteries could cut their carbon footprint – and manufacturing costs.

No action over contaminated West End land [$]
A parcel of land leaching contaminants into the Brisbane River at West End still has not been cleaned up despite testing showing it is harming the health of the river.

South Australia
Giant Australian cuttlefish put on vibrant breeding display as numbers soar
Giant cuttlefish breeding in South Australian waters provide a visual treat for spectators, who are able to witness the marine animals’ vibrant displays in numbers not seen in years.

DP Energy gets OK to build 1.1GW wind, solar and storage in SA
DP Energy wins approval for Stage 2 of 1.1GW hybrid renewables park, which will offer most services of traditional fossil fuel power stations.

Port Augusta renewables park receives key approval [$]
The Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park has received a key State Government approval for Stage Two of the project and is expecting financial close for Stage One by the end of the year.

Push for Adelaide’s first cat curfew laws [$]
Owners would be banned from allowing their cats to roam at night under a Marion Council move to introduce Adelaide’s first cat curfew laws.

We’re being hammered by the cost of power [$]
Stacey Lee
Stacey Lee just received the highest electricity bill she’s ever had, and knows that she’s not alone.

End coal mining in the UK, environmentalists urge government
Environmentalists have written to ministers, asking them to reform the planning system so that all future coal mines are automatically refused

Tesla inks China giga-factory deal, targets 500,000 EVs a year
Tesla signs MOU to build EV plant in Shanghai, which will be producing 500,000 cars a year within five years’ time.

The highly complex sugarcane genome has finally been sequenced
Sugarcane was the last major cultivated plant to have its genome sequenced.

Living in greener neighborhoods is associated with slower cognitive decline in elderly
Contact with greenspace is known to have beneficial effects for mental health. A new study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) suggests that it may also play a positive role against cognitive decline in elderly. In particular, this research published in Environmental Health Perspectives shows that the loss in cognitive functions expected as part of the aging process is slightly slower in people who live in greener neighborhoods.

The number of AC units installed worldwide could quadruple by 2050
As global temperatures rise due to climate change, the number of air conditioning units in use globally is expected to quadruple by mid-century, increasing from 3.6 billion today to 14 billion in 2050.

Cradle to Cradle: Living in a world without waste
People buy, consume and then discard. But can you imagine a reality where the concept of waste had no meaning? That’s behind the growing “cradle to cradle” movement.

Major sewage pollution incidents increase in UK
Rivers overall are getting cleaner, but water firms still need to do better, the Environment Agency says.

10 useful facts to know on World Population Day
From girls’ education to aging and diversity, learn about some of the most important issues related to the global population in celebration in World Population Day.

2018 World Population Day: Just how many of us are there on Earth?
To celebrate International World Population Day, here’s a look at how South Africa compares to the rest of the world.

Nature Conservation
University of Montana ecology professor helps map climate corridors
The corridors of land vital for many wildlife species in the face of climate change often are unprotected. Now, a recently published study from a University of Montana ecology professor and other researchers has tracked these shifting North American habitats.

Drones survey African wildlife
In collaboration with a nature reserve in Namibia, researchers funded by the SNSF are developing a new approach to counting animals: combining drone flights and automated image analysis.

Success of conservation efforts for important Caribbean Reef fish hinges on climate change
Marine scientists predict climate change might severely hinder efforts to protect populations of the endangered and iconic Nassau grouper by the end of this century.

Rainy weather predicts bird distribution — but climate change could disrupt it
Understanding what environmental cues birds use to time their annual migrations and decide where to settle is crucial for predicting how they’ll be affected by a shifting climate.

Pesticides Influence Bee Learning and Memory
A large-scale study has drawn together the findings of a decade of agrochemical research to confirm that pesticides used in crop protection have a significant negative impact on the learning and ..

If You Build It, the Birds Will Come — If It Meets Their Criteria
A new study presents a case study on how bird surveys can better inform conservation and vegetation restoration efforts

Rhino Sperm from the Cold
A new mixture of cryoprotectives allows for an unprecedented high motility of frozen rhinoceros sperm after thawing, report scientists.

Salamanders Show More Resistance to Global Warming Than Previously Believed
The southern Appalachian Mountains are home to 10 percent of global salamander diversity. But current predictions indicate that 70 to 85 percent of this habitat will become …

Now for something completely different …
How to tell if your electric blanket is safe to use
Winter has well and truly set in, but before you crank up your trusty electric blanket, it’s important to make sure it’s in top shape for the months ahead.

Maelor Himbury