Daily Links Aug 29

‘We dread the onslaught of summer’ makes personal the experience of drought. This is what makes the GNats position on climate response so hard to understand. Clearly donors rank higher than electors and it is long past time that more of the latter woke up, as they have in the federal electorate of Indi and the state electorate of Shepparton.


 Post of the Day

Time to scale-up land restoration to advance sustainable development goals, says new report

Industrialization, rising population and runaway consumption have accelerated land degradation worldwide.



Today’s Celebration

Nut Spas – Russia

Slovak National Uprising Day – Slovakia

National Meals on Wheels Day – http://www.mealsonwheels.org.au/Home.aspx

International Day against Nuclear Tests – http://www.un.org/en/events/againstnucleartestsday/

Individual Rights Day – https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/individual-rights-day/

More about Aug 29 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_29


Climate Change

California climate change report adds to evidence as state pushes back on Trump

The assessment warns of increasing wildfires, worsening droughts and more severe coastal flooding. State lawmakers are looking for solutions in renewable energy.



In warming Arctic, major rivers show surprising changes in carbon chemistry

New research suggests that the same factors driving the Arctic’s changing climate are fueling a geological response that could play a small part in counteracting those changes’ malign effects.



Scientists pinpoint the key mechanism foe amplification of global warming

Over the past century, the Earth has experienced a steady rise in the global-mean surface temperature, which is thought to be driven by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. It is well known by climate scientists that the surface warming in response to anthropogenic radiative forcing is much stronger than that associated with the forcing itself. A new study pinpoints the thermal-radiative coupling between the atmosphere and surface as the key amplifying mechanism that exacerbates global warming.




Joyce’s call to divert environmental water to drought-hit farmers panned by conservationists

Australia’s new drought envoy Barnaby Joyce wants water being held for the environment to be given to farmers to grow feed crops for livestock.



‘Death certificate’: Ex-water chief slams Barnaby Joyce’s drought plan

Diverting water tagged for the environment to help drought-hit farmers would breach the federal Water Act, ex-Commonwealth Environment Water Office boss says.



Turnbull’s hedge fund-manager son says miners exerting ‘undue influence’ over Liberal Party

Speaking out after his father lost the Liberal leadership, Alex Turnbull described Australia’s energy policy as 10 years of “panic and mania”, and said it made no economic sense to build new coal-fired power plants.



Can Angus Taylor stop the renewables and storage revolution?

Much is expected of new energy minister Angus Taylor, particularly from Coalition politicians and media commentators who helped put him in the post.



EnergyAustralia, Alinta fined for dodgy data

EnergyAustralia and Alinta have each been fined for providing inaccurate retailer complaint data to the energy watchdog.



Calls for electric cars to be slugged for using the roads

The drive to electric vehicles promises a better future — but there is a road rage battle brewing, pitting petrol guzzlers against their green successors on how we should be paying for our roads.



‘No real appetite’: former farmers chief lashes ministers over climate link to drought

Brent Finlay, former president of the National Farmers’ Federation, says Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce are the latest who are failing the bush



Top government adviser blasts Australia’s flawed financial response to drought

The head of the Productivity Commission says extra help would be ‘condemned to failure’ if policy mistakes of the past were repeated.



Coronado Coal prepares for $1b IPO

Coronado Coal’s IPO is expected to value the entire company at around $3b, making it the biggest coal mining float in Australia since 2012.



Coles’ plastic bag backflip pays off at the checkout [$]

Coles’ stance on plastic bags has been criticised by customers and environmentalists but it appears to have paid off where it counts – the checkout.



All models used by Bureau now point to El Nino by the end of spring

Hopes for quenching rains that would aid farmers and ease the bushfire risks appear to be dimming with fresh indications of El Nino thresholds will be surpassed by the end of spring.



‘Our word is our bond’: Senior MPs say exiting Paris deal would hurt Australia

Senior government MPs warn Australia will lose face on the world stage if it exits the Paris climate treaty, amid an unyielding push by ultra-conservatives to maintain internal discord over climate and energy policy.



Taylor faces power struggle

New Enegry Minister Angus Taylor faces an uphill battle negotiating with Victoria on energy policy.



‘Kick This Mob Out’: Hanson-Young Takes Aim Over Climate Policy Paralysis

Sarah Hanson-Young

The Liberal Party of Australia is now officially a party split in half by climate denial.



Electric vehicles again

Don Aitkin

I realised that what we have now is indeed our current policy, and it means in fact higher energy prices for as far ahead as you can see; I might have said so at the time.



A conversation about wind and coal with Australia’s new energy minister

Giles Parkinson

So what does the new energy minister think about renewables and fossil fuels? Our readers, and his fellow MPs, provide some clues.



Amid blackout scare stories, remember that a grid without power cuts is impossible… and expensive

Dylan McConnell

Mainstream media reporting about risks of blackouts is misleading and irresponsible, and could lead to costly “gold plating” of the generation sector.



‘We dread the onslaught of summer’

Alison Harris

Drought is taking its toll on farmers and their communities alike – but there could be worse to come.




Melbourne’s $50b rail loop the ‘biggest public transport project in history’

The costly rail tunnel promised by the Labor Government would connect the western and eastern suburbs via the airport, and link all major train lines, but would take decades to build and need federal and private funds.



Surbuban rail loop: Can we build it? Yes, we can, experts say

‘If you look around – at Paris, at Singapore and New York – ring-road style railway lines are done everywhere.



Victoria “autonobus” trial finds AVs ready for commercial rollout

Report says La Trobe University “autonobus” trial demonstrated “safely and without incident” that autonomous vehicles could be deployed now, across Australia.



Big criticism of $50 billion project

An underground rail network billed as the “biggest project in state history” has Melburnians talking about its one big flaw.



Probe into ‘heartbreaking’ bird of prey deaths in state’s south-west

Dead raptors found in an area stretching from Portland to Ocean Grove, including at least 15 dead birds found in the Killarney area.



Large holes remain in Victoria’s suburban rail loop plan

Huge questions remain over government’s suburban rail loop proposal



A visionary rail project – but where’s the plan?

John Hearsch

We can’t be confident that this is a holistic solution to our transport and urban planning challenges.



We hardly ever trust big transport announcements – here’s how politicians get it right

Crystal Legacy

The East-West Link is only one example of myriad infrastructure projects that have caused community controversy.



New South Wales

Sydney’s dam water levels dropping rapidly [$]

Sydney’s dam levels are dropping at such a rapid rate the city could be forced to rely on the desalination plant by October, with rain last weekend failing to stem the decline.




Govt still to deliver detail on case for Woden line

Canberra Times editorial

There is no way the ACT Government could ever justify spending almost $2 billion on a tram service to Woden.




RCR takes huge write-down on Queensland solar projects

RCR takes huge write downs on one of its flagship solar contracts, while another major contractor laments that “every man and his dog” is in the market.



This sludgy creek connects to a major river

Pollution from an old mine has made a northern Queensland major river into a toxic contamination zone, with the government warning residents not to drink, swim or use the water.



Queensland cotton farmer charged with $20m Murray-Darling plan fraud

Charges against irrigator John Norman involve federal funds allocated for water projects



South Australia

Trundle on to Rundle as bike path reaches milestone [$]

The latest part in the $12 million upgrade of CBD bikeways has been completed, and it will include real time data of just how many bikes use it.



Swire Shipping hauls anchor in Tasmania, with forestry looking to northern export solution

The operator of southern Tasmania’s only direct freight service announces it’s pulling out of the state in two weeks, which will force customers to transport goods to northern ports by road or rail.



Northern Territory


Western Australia

Dingoes to remain classified as non-native wild dogs under WA law reform

Widespread reforms to WA’s Biodiversity Conservation Act will not consider a change to the existing classification of the iconic dingo as a wild dog, not native to Australia.



Explainer: why the rock art of Murujuga deserves World Heritage status

Jo McDonald

Rock art in the Dampier Archipelago and the Burrup Peninsula contains paintings of animals that are now extinct, such as thylacines and a fat-tailed species of kangaroos.




Popular French environment minister quits in blow to Macron

French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot resigned on Tuesday in frustration over sluggish progress on climate goals and nuclear energy policy, dealing a major blow to President Emmanuel Macron’s already tarnished green credentials.



New Japanese bank policies rule out one third of overseas coal plant finance

New policies should rule out financial support to a third of coal-fired power stations currently under consideration by Japan’s three major commercial banks.



South Africa drops nuclear push in favour of renewables

South Africa turns to wind, solar and gas to replace coal, dumping plans for an expensive foray into nuclear.



Too dirty to breathe: can London clean up its toxic air?

Air pollution leaves many Londoners like Catherine Bazell housebound, and as the severe impacts on health become clearer the call for greater action is rising



Brazil’s pesticide poisoning problem poses global dilemma, say critics

Brazil is a leading global consumer of chemical pesticides – many banned in the EU and U.S. This not only puts farmworkers at risk, but consumers of Brazilian food the world round.



Time to scale-up land restoration to advance sustainable development goals, says new report

Industrialization, rising population and runaway consumption have accelerated land degradation worldwide.



Hot in the city

Anyone who lives in a big city knows that on hot days some areas are less unpleasant than others.



Human predators, human prey

Richard Heinberg

It is extremely unlikely that humanity will be able to keep the growth party raging; the best we can hope for is an equitable, peaceful, and relatively happy descent from current levels of population and consumption.



Nature Conservation

Appetite for destruction – Soy boom devours Brazil’s tropical savanna

When farmer Julimar Pansera purchased land in Brazil’s interior seven years ago, it was blanketed in tiers of fruit trees, twisted shrubs and the occasional palm standing tall in a thicket of undergrowth.



Invasive species are riding on plastic across the oceans

Crustaceans and mollusks foreign to the United States have survived up to six years riding on ocean trash.



Study finds widespread degradation, deforestation in African woodlands

Deforestation rates in southern Africa’s woodlands are five times higher than prior estimates, according to recent research.



Multiple facets of biodiversity reduce variability of grassland biomass production

A new study shows that plant evolutionary history plays a critical role in regulating year-to-year variation of biomass production in grasslands.



Migrating monarchs facing increased parasite risks

During their annual migration to wintering sites in Mexico, monarch butterflies encounter dangers ranging from cars and trucks to storms, droughts and predators. A study led by ecologists at the University of Georgia has found evidence that these iconic insects might be facing a new challenge.



How Brazil can beat the odds and restore a huge swathe of the Amazon

Danilo Ignacio de Urzedo and Robert Fisher

Over the past few decades the international community has watched as the destruction of Earth’s largest forest has intensified.



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