Daily Links Aug 31

That Qld is proceeding with a state-owned green energy company holds many stories, privatisation is dying, the private sector is stymied in risk-management and that governments can show leadership among them.

Post of the Day

Improving soil quality can slow global warming

Better land management practices can sequester enough carbon to lower global temperatures



Today’s Celebration

Hero’s Day – Philippines

Independence Day – Kyrgyzstan, Trinidad & Tobago

National Day – Malaysia

National Language Day – Moldova

White Rose Day (in honor of Princess Diana)

International Overdose Awareness Day – http://www.overdoseday.com/

Love Litigating Lawyers Day – https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/love-litigating-lawyers-day/

More about Aug 31 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_31


Climate Change

The global rightward shift on climate change

President Trump may be leading rich governments in the English-speaking world to abandon environmental policies.



‘Archived’ heat has reached deep into the Arctic interior, researchers say

Arctic sea ice isn’t just threatened by the melting of ice around its edges, a new study has found: Warmer water that originated hundreds of miles away has penetrated deep into the interior of the Arctic.



Improving soil quality can slow global warming

Better land management practices can sequester enough carbon to lower global temperatures



Climate change: local efforts won’t be enough to undo Trump’s inaction, study says

Onus still falls on national governments to cut emissions to stave off worst impacts of climate change, Yale researchers say



Climate change and migration: we need a new media narrative

Maria Sakellari

People forced by climate change to relocate are described by the media as victims or as security threats. There is little information about vulnerable communities’ fight to secure a viable future. We need to challenge these representations to provoke policies that protect the inherent rights of people affected by climate change




Productivity Commission calls out governance failings in Murray-Darling Basin Plan roll-out

The Productivity Commission’s draft report in to the Basin Plan’s implementation has highlighted a number of significant risks to its full implementation.



Fossil record points to ‘major transformation’ of Australian ecosystems in next 100 years

Scientists have used the fossil record to get an idea of what 4 and 7 degrees of warming did to the planet after the last ice age. “Business-as-usual” emissions could see the same thing happen this century.



‘Utterly stupid’: Samoan PM hits out at climate change sceptics in fiery Sydney speech

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele says people are waiting for “some political guts” as he urges Australia to make deeper cuts to carbon emissions to help save Pacific Island nations from the “disaster” of climate change.



Power companies hit back at minister, saying policy vacuum led to steep bills

Australian Energy Council CEO rubbishes Angus Taylor’s claim market misconduct behind high power bills



‘Major shortcomings’: Productivity Commission backs Murray-Darling revamp

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority should be split, while taxpayers face a hefty bill if projects fail, the Productivity Commission has found.



Double down or face abolition, energy experts tell ESB

The failure of the National Energy Guarantee has raised questions about the future of the overarching power body, the Energy Security Board, with insiders saying the group either has to double down on its role or face abolition.



‘Mad’ and ‘morally irresponsible’: Liberal moderates roast new emissions stance

Senior Liberal figures have labelled the Morrison government’s stance on climate change as “mad” and “morally irresponsible” as the party’s moderate wing reels at the ultra-conservative takeover of Australia’s energy policy.



‘Warming stripes’ show how Australia’s average temperatures have changed

Is it a work of art in a gallery? A chart? It’s neither and both, and it shows a big change in Australia.



Dams ‘a Coalition thought bubble’ [$]

Labor has accused the Coalition of treating proposed dams for northern Australia as “thought bubbles’’.



Eco-friendly ‘green’ gold bar produced without toxic cyanide in Australian first

You might pay more for ethically-produced coffee, but what about environmentally-friendly gold in your wedding ring?



Costs have farms eyeing solar [$]

Study finds majority of farmers considering solar as sharp energy cost jumps hit agribusiness.



Local communities need more reassurance about the legacy left by coal seam gas wells

Tom Measham and Cameron Huddlestone-Holmes

The coal seam gas industry and its regulators still have work to do in persuading local communities that old wells can be decommissioned without future problems, according to new CSIRO research.



Fury as climate, power split [$]

Big energy users say Scott Morrison’s move to decouple carbon cuts from energy policy is a blow to investor certainty.



Minister vows: This is how I’ll make your bills drop [$]

New Energy Minister Angus Taylor yesterday vowed to push energy bills down as his number one priority — “to reduce prices while keeping the lights on”. This is how he’ll do it.



Time for truth on energy [$]

Robert Gottliebsen

Australians know they haven’t been told the whole truth on energy.



Coalition shouldn’t whack business for being rational [$]

AFR View

New Energy Minister Angus Taylor could not be more clear. Lower power prices are the number one and all-encompassing aim.



PM’s energy agenda reassuring

Australian editorial

Price and reliability matter more than emissions cuts.




Don’t write off brown coal-fired power station in Latrobe Valley, Minister Matt Canavan says [$]

A new brown coal-fired power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley should not be written off as new low-­emissions technology advancements are made, federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan says.



Rail pledge makes claim to take politics out of planning sound hollow

The Andrews government’s decision to bypass Infrastructure Victoria on the biggest project ever announced in Victoria has drawn criticism.



Thirty years? Experts say rail loop could be built in half the time

Crossrail, a 118 kilometre rail line through London – 21 kilometres of it in underground tunnels – is due to open in December, 11 years after work began.



Factory fire one of worst in history

Crews are still working to put out a Melbourne factory fire fueled by toxic drums of chemicals. It’s been called one of the city’s worst.



A solar stick-up [$]

The Rural City of Wangaratta has voted to oppose construction of a new $170 million solar farm at Glenrowan.



Radical plan for state-owned electricity retailer [$]

The Andrews Government will consider a radical plan to create a state-owned electricity retailer that only deals with low-income households.



Fighting fury tiger trout roars into Victorian lakes [$]

Tiger trout — a hybrid fish bred from a female brown trout and a male brook trout from North America — is set to be released into Victorian waters for the first time.



Living in the west shouldn’t be so flaming dangerous [$]

Dan Fogarty

It’s 2018. We still have industrial estates 10km from the city at risk of spewing toxic fumes across thousands of homes. It’s not good enough.



New South Wales

The latest climate outlook has been released and it is not what we wanted to hear

After the driest start to the year in New South Wales since 1965, what will a dry spring mean for water storages already in trouble?



Desal plant to profit from drought misery [$]

Sydney desalination plant operators appear ready to hold the state to ransom, poised to charge millions in profit to dispense much-needed water.



Desalination plant delay as NSW dams fall

The NSW government has dismissed calls for mandatory water restrictions after revelations Sydney’s desalination plant will take months to reach full capacity.



New solar cells offer you the chance to print out solar panels and stick them on your roof

This roof in Newcastle has become the first in Australia to be covered with specially printed solar cells.



This company owns seven of Sydney’s toll roads, and they could be about to buy another

Transurban could tighten its grip on Sydney’s toll roads, after the ACCC gives its bid to buy a majority stake in the $17 billion WestConnex project the green light.



The way Sydney can make a difference as dam levels fall

Suzanne Rickard

Sure, turn on the desal plant. But there’s one simple water-saving measure that’s back in force in our house.




‘Game-changing’ research could save species on brink of extinction

A “game-changing” conservation project at the University of Canberra could save endangered species on the brink of extinction.



Experts discuss the future of sustainable buildings in Canberra

More than half the building expected to be standing in 2050 in Australia, haven’t been built yet.




Giant new dams proposed for northern Australia

Giant dams could be built in parts of north Queensland and the Northern Territory to turn those areas into major national agricultural food bowls and generate significant economic benefits, a CSIRO report says.



Get out of the dam way, greenies told [$]

A fired-up Queensland federal minister has dared green activists to get on board or get out of the way of a billion-dollar project that will protect the lifestyle to which they’re accustomed.



No political appetite for dam plan [$]

Farmers have welcomed a CSIRO report identifying key irrigation projects which could provide a $5.3 billion boost to the Queensland economy, but locals warn dams are usually little more than mirages on the federal election campaign landscape.



No spring drought relief predicted for Queensland

The Bureau of Meteorology adds that the state was likely to record one of its top-seven warmest winters on record.



Queensland launches green state-owned energy company

Queensland has launched a state-owned, 100 per cent renewable energy generator which will help cut annual power bills.



Qld govt clean energy company welcomed

The Australian Conservation Foundation welcomed the government’s announcement but urged them to reconsider the decision to include an existing gas power station in CleanCo’s portfolio.



Robot predators to tackle crown-of-thorns reef scourge

In a bid to eradicate one of the Great Barrier Reef’s primary threats, researchers have come up with a tiny yellow submarine that will seek out crown-of-thorns starfish and kill them via lethal injection.



Daintree fuel spill creates fishing disruption fear [$]

Fishers fear the “lake-sized” diesel spill from the trawler scuttled by Vietnamese refugees off the Daintree coast may cause long-term damage to a mackerel fishing hotspot.



Magnet fishing brings trash and treasure to the surface

There is a lot that lurks in the water of the Brisbane River, but among the mangroves and mud people are finding bullets, trunks of pornography and lost bikes.



Gold Coast koala population declining

A Gold Coast City Council report shows one of south-east Queensland’s largest koala populations will likely halve in numbers within 20 years and will be unviable in 50 years.



We must put drought towns first [$]

Barnaby Joyce

The best way to help the regions of Australia ravaged by drought is to invest in dams, roads and other major infrastructure to keep them going while times are dire



It’s a dam fine plan and we should listen [$]

Courier Mail editorial

A visionary CSIRO report that recommends building dams on the state’s northern rivers is a plan that’s based on facts, not wishful thinking, and includes practical steps to turn this into reality.



South Australia

The reef worth shelling out for

Australia’s largest restoration reef is set to get even bigger as stage two works on the $4 million project on the Yorke Peninsula, start on Friday.



Adelaide koalas dying due to tree loss [$]

Burnside’s resident koalas are dying off as land subdivisions in the district continue to result in a shrinking tree canopy – but the council is taking steps to restore their habitat.



Power back after storm blackouts [$]

Power has restored to thousands of properties and several intersections after wide scale blackouts caused by strong wind gusts.



Labor attacks Libs over energy policy ‘crisis’ [$]

Uncertainty over federal energy policy was placing jobs and investment in Tasmanian renewable generation projects at risk, Labor says.



Greens slam ‘reckless’ action in National Park [$]

The unnecessary clearing of a patch of bush near the Three Capes Track has been described as indicative of a “cowboy” approach to the state’s natural areas.



Northern Territory

Water study may unlock thousands of Darwin jobs [$]

Thousands of new jobs could be created around greater Darwin injecting billions into the Territory economy on the back of a new water study to be released today



Western Australia

‘Unprecedented’ Kimberley diamond discovery brings a sparkle back to the industry

A global miner hoping to revive the Kimberley diamond industry believes it may have discovered Australia’s next big diamond field.



Wettest August in 53 years as severe weather lashes Perth

Perth is about to say goodbye to the wettest winter in 15 years as a severe weather warning with damaging winds and buckets of rain has been issued for large parts of the state on Wednesday.



Fitzroy River could be $1b food hub with 5000 jobs

Investing in dams and other water infrastructure could unlock 160,000ha of agricultural land along the river and create thousands of jobs.




Air pollution can put a dent in solar power

Air pollution, especially in urban areas, can significantly reduce the power output from solar panels, and needs to be considered when design solar installations in or near cities.



Sperm counts have dropped 50 percent. Can she find a fix?

Male fertility in the West is dropping, and no one knows why. OB-GYN Sarah Martins da Silva is one of the few researchers stepping in to help find a solution.



Catalyst advance could lead to economical fuel cells

Researchers have developed a new way to make low-cost, single-atom catalysts for fuel cells — an advance that could make important clean energy technology more economically viable.



China is hot spot of ground-level ozone pollution

In China, people breathe air thick with the lung-damaging pollutant ozone two to six times more often than people in the United States, Europe, Japan, or South Korea, according to a new assessment.



Crop losses to pests will soar as climate warms, study warns

Rising temperatures make insects eat and breed more, leading to food losses growing world population cannot afford, say scientists



Injection wells can induce earthquakes miles away from the well

Study finds injecting fluid into sedimentary rock can produce bigger, more distant earthquakes than injecting into the underlying basement rock



Carmakers’ gaming of emissions tests ‘costing drivers billions’

On-the-road fuel efficiency is far lower than in lab tests, pushing up costs and CO2 emissions, research shows



2nd Hanford radioactive waste tunnel collapse anticipated

A Hanford nuclear reservation official said a collapse of another radioactive waste storage tunnel is anticipated and the severity of the collapse would be moderate.



Report: Most illegal pot farms tainted by toxic pesticides

“This isn’t about the marijuana, it’s about the damage that’s being done,” U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said in an interview before a news conference to announce the findings.



Visiting Kenya a year into its plastic bag ban

A year ago, Kenya banned plastic bags and introduced the toughest rules in the book to punish anyone caught making, selling or using them. Have these measures worked?



Lessons from Clayoquot – what pipeline protesters should know

David Tindall, Joanna Robinson, Mark CJ Stoddart

Civil disobedience can be a powerful tactic to raise awareness and rally opposition.



Is it ever OK to put your rubbish in a neighbour’s bin?

Jo McCarroll

If a neighbour had a larger than usual amount of rubbish one week and asked if they could add a bag or two to my bin, I’d be fine with it.



More than just lip service: done right, awareness-raising days can pack a punch

Kim Beasy and Ruby Grant

Research shows awareness-raising days can have long-term impact if they have a clear call to action, leverage the passion of those involved, or target policy-makers.



Female corporate leaders make firms less likely to fall foul of environmental laws

Chelsea Liu

What drives companies to be green? Women, it turns out, are the key. New research shows that firms with a more balanced mix of women and men in the boardroom receive fewer environmental lawsuits.



Can China really lead the way to an “Ecological Civilization”?

Jeremy Lent

If president Xi Jinping’s ecological vision turns out to be more than mere rhetoric, it could have a profound effect on humanity’s future.



Nature Conservation

Can this 24-year-old clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Early next month a 24-year-old entrepreneur from the Netherlands will launch an ambitious project in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.



Humans have created a new natural disaster

Massive seaweed infestations are killing sea turtles and befouling beaches across the Caribbean—and scientists say it’s just the beginning.



Protect key habitats, not just wilderness, to preserve species

Some scientists have suggested we need to protect half of Earth’s surface to preserve most of its species. A new study, however, cautions that it’s the quality, not merely the quantity, of land we protect that matters.



Coral reefs in Thailand′s Maya Bay begin to recover

The famous Maya Bay in Thailand has been closed for three months to give its coral reefs a chance to recover. After the reopening on October 1st, each visit will be limited to one hour.



Manmade mangroves could get to the ‘root’ of the problem for threats to coastal areas

With threats of sea level rise, storm surge and other natural disasters, researchers are turning to nature to protect humans from nature. Using bioinspired materials that mimic mangrove trees, they are creating mangrove-like structures that can be used for erosion control, coastal protection, and habitat reconstruction.



How the forest copes with the summer heat

A current study by the University of Basel indicates now that native forest trees can cope much better with the drought than previously expected.



The fate of plastic in the oceans

The concentrations of microplastics in the surface layer of the oceans are lower than expected.



A climate ‘wake-up call’

Research from UCSB and EDF shows a more prosperous global future is possible if both climate change and sustainable fisheries management are addressed now.



Where the animals go: wildlife tracking secrets revealed

Award-winning geographer Dr James Cheshire and designer Oliver Uberti take us to the forefront of the animal tracking revolution, mapping the movements of animals on land, sky and sea – from Peru’s elusive jaguars to ant activity in a colony



Clashes expected over Japan’s bid to resume commercial whaling

Japanese government expected to propose reforms to the International Whaling Commission allowing them to circumvent the current ban



Climate change and population growth are straining The Rio Grande

Rio Grande – it’s Spanish for “big river.” Nearly six million people both north and south of the border rely on it as their primary source of water.



Fish populations could rise in warming climate with better management

Study finds potential for fisheries to benefit in future – as long as warming can be kept in check



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