Daily Links Jan 31

Insolvency isn’t the only predatory practice of some in the business community against the community. Mr Harbourside Mansion had assets in the Cayman Islands, SABMiller sells almost $9 billion of beer in  4 years yet pays no tax, Franchisees have a business model the requires the underpayment of staff, phoenix companies still abound – where’s the Royal Commission into the regulations regime of Australian business?

Post of the Day

Coal mines likely drove China’s recent methane emissions rise, study says

A Chinese policy attempted to crack down on methane, but it proved ineffective, researchers say.


Today’s Celebration

Independence Day – Nauru

Thaipusam – Tamil

Street Children’s Day – Austria

Backward Day

Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

Gorilla Suit Day

More about Jan 31


Climate Change

Global warming hasn’t gone away despite cold as Trump suggests in tweet

Washington: In the midst of a Midwest cold spell, US President Donald Trump is pleading for global warming to come back, but it never went away.


Increasing temperatures from climate change may harm babies’ hearts

New report finds a rise in maternal heat exposure could mean more congenital heart disease for US babies over the next decade


How the geography of climate damage could make the politics less polarizing

What if we flip the frame from emissions to impacts when looking at the geography of climate change?


This film could make coal execs care about the planet

The Human Element, James Balog’s newest documentary hopes to close the political and cultural gap on climate change through the stories of those most affected by it.


Gone in a Generation: How climate change is disrupting American lives

The continental United States is 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was a century ago. Seas around the coasts are nine inches higher. Damage is mounting because of these fundamental changes, and Americans are living it.


Seas may be rising faster than thought

Current method of measuring sea-level rise may not be reliable


Global warming will hit states supporting Donald Trump hardest

And it’s not changing their mind on climate change, yet.


A Trump-aligned World Bank may be bad for climate action and trade, but good for Chinese ambitions

Usman W. Chohan

A World Bank in sync with Donald Trump’s views about climate change and multilateralism would probably help to increase Chin’s role in international development and finance. 



OECD warns Aust to step up emission cuts

An OECD environmental performance review has found Australia is falling short of its pledges to cut emissions and needs to intensify its efforts.


Josh Frydenberg defends Coalition’s climate record as he faces challenge in Kooyong

Treasurer says climate change is real and Scott Morrison’s government takes emissions reduction ‘very seriously’


Australia’s paltry electric car uptake will cost health, jobs and environment – report

Senate committee urges government to create policies to encourage use or risk missing out on a transport revolution


Desalination, dams and the big dry: managing Australia’s water supply – video

As Sydney turns on its desalination plant for the first time in seven years, the way Australia manages its water resources has come into stark focus.


The other (deadlier) road toll: car pollution

Vehicle emissions are killing more Australians than road accidents, but a Senate committee has just taken an important first step to clean up our cities.


No end in sight for nation’s power crisis [$]

Australia’s energy crisis is poised to continue over the next two summers as the ­nation’s ageing coal-fired power stations pump less ­reliable power into the grid, ­experts have warned.


Miners back Uluru call for ‘voice’ [$]

BHP and Rio Tinto today become the first major corporations to publicly support the Uluru Statement from the Heart.


Murray-Darling Basin Plan: five-year assessment

Productivity Commission

This report makes findings on progress to date in implementing the Basin Plan and recommendations on actions required to ensure effective achievement of the plan’s outcomes. Most of the recommendations involve incremental improvements to the current arrangements.


Stop subsidising well-off to bring down prices [$]

Mark Colette

Around the world household costs are rising faster than incomes. Any extra cost on struggling families will see an electoral reaction. So, what can we learn from the French experience? Let’s start with solar subsidies.



Lightning sparks Gippsland bushfire as storms wreaks havoc [$]

Fire crews are battling two out-of-control bushfires in Gippsland, as thunderstorms, torrential rain and large hailstones swept across parts of the state, with nearby residents warned to stay alert.


New South Wales

Farmers ‘disheartened’ by ‘online bullying’ over fish kills

Cotton farmers say they are being attacked on social media as debate rages over the fish kills in the Darling River in far-west New South Wales.


NSW mass fish death clean-up under way

An expert has warned against making rash decisions about Australia’s biggest river system as NSW authorities drag tonnes of dead fish out of the Darling River.


Berejiklian’s $600m light rail deal [$]

The NSW government is preparing to pay Acciona more than $600m to settle the dispute over its light rail project.


Second desal plant an option for Sydney [$]

A second desalination plant could be built in Sydney if the state’s drought worsens, under controversial plans contained in the Berejiklian Government’s official water policy documents.



New 12 kilometre trail  in wind for joggers and cyclists

Lake Burley Griffin will soon face competition as Canberra’s go-to spot for joggers and recreational cyclists.



What nuclear tests taught us about mysterious lungfish

Until now, learning the vulnerable Queensland fish’s age meant killing it.


Reef model for nation: OECD

A once-in-a-decade OECD report has found the Great Barrier Reef plan could serve as a model for other environmental issues.


Death by 775 cuts: how conservation law is failing the black-throated finch

April Reside and James Watson

Just one out of a possible 775 development approvals was refused on the basis that it would harm the southern black-throated finch, despite this endangered species being protected by federal law.


South Australia

Electric scooters are coming to Adelaide, if the State Government allows them

Adelaide Fringe audiences could soon be using a fleet of 500 electric scooters to ride to and from gigs, but concerns have been raised about their safety and long-term viability.


Council reconsiders river association membership [$]

A northern suburbs council has debated leaving the Murray-Darling Association and instead spending the money on local projects.


Storm Boy brings wave of tourists back to the Coorong [$]

The remake of Storm Boy put the extraordinary Coorong scenery and wildlife back on the big screen — and now tourist operators are seeing a big rise in interest as people head back to the region.


Murray Darling disaster a product of Australia’s political malaise

Mark Brindal

Australia’s political classes preened and postured as the Murray Darling Basin system descended into environmental catastrophe.


If there is ever a time to scream about water security, it’s now [$]

Stacey Lee

The royal commission report will outline any failings uncovered and, sure, it’s already turned into a bit of a witch hunt. But instead of finding someone to blame the focus now should be on fixing the river system.


Fires burn across Tassie as wind changes

Emergency warnings are in place for two major bushfires burning in Tasmania. (AAP)

Firefighters are again on the ground and in the skies tackling scores of blazes burning in Tasmania which may be made harder to battle due to the winds.


Conservationists call for better protection of Tasmania’s wilderness as bushfires rage

Crews battling bushfires in Tasmania are preparing for hot and dry conditions, with 13 emergency alerts issued and continued threats to property.


Tasmania fires: more homes lost amid calls to combat world heritage ‘tragedy’

Fourteen emergency warnings in place as more than 520 crew fight Tasmanian bushfires


Arsonists add to fire danger [$]

A thick blanket of smoke hangs over Hobart and 13 bushfire emergency warnings remain in place in the Huon Valley and Central Plateau this morning as crews to continue to battle blazes across the state.


Historic Tassie tiger trapper’s hut lost in blaze [$]

A heritage-listed hut built by a well-known thylacine trapper more than 90 years ago has been destroyed by a bushfire raging in Tamania’s Southwest wilderness.


Insolvency, a predatory practice – Gunns Plantations Liquidation

Trevor Burdon

A longer article (in parts), on the Liquidation of Gunns Plantations (GPL), and the disclaimed Managed Investment Schemes (MIS) trees grown on Gunns (GNS) freehold land.


This is my first real natural disaster and it sucks

First Dog on the Moon

We are all trying to be brave


Northern Territory

Mining charity to fund $2 million tri-state camel cull

A land management group backed by the BHP Billiton Foundation will fund a $2 million feral camel culling program on Aboriginal land in Central Australia.


Origin Energy begins Beetaloo drilling work [$]

Origin Energy has begun drilling work at some well sites in the Beetaloo Basin 600km south of Darwin


Uluru climb to be dismantled after closing in October, despite opposition [$]

Parks Australia intends to start dismantling the world famous Uluru climb two days after it closes on October 26 this year despite pressure from activists to reconsider a climbing ban.


Western Australia

Fears for endangered parrot after bushfire

Conservation efforts are ramping up in a bid to protect the western ground parrot after a bushfire destroyed some of the birds’ WA habitat.


Bushfire threat weakens in Perth

A watch and act bushfire alert has been issued in Perth, with authorities warning lives and homes may be in danger.


Huawei boss says WA has nothing to fear over $200m rail project

The WA Government demands assurances from Huawei that it can deliver on a rail communications contract amid a standoff between the US and China over the technology firm, but the company says there will be “no risk” to the project.


State to review train zones

The zone payment system has been criticised as confusing to tourists and irregular public transport users. The zone payment system has been criticised as confusing to tourists and irregular public transport users.


Solar entry: Aussie shopping centre starts world-first power trial

A West Australian shopping centre has carried out a solar energy world-first turning its glass entryway into a fully transparent solar power plant.



When farmers go vegan: the science behind changing your mind

A farmer recently took his lambs to a sanctuary instead of the slaughter – and these sudden turnarounds are not uncommon


What goes up: Are predictions of a population crisis wrong?

Changing fertility rates challenge dystopian visions and UN projections about the future of our overcrowded planet.


EU proposes ban on 90% of microplastic pollutants

European Chemicals Agency draft law aims to cut 400,000 tonnes of plastic pollution


Coal mines likely drove China’s recent methane emissions rise, study says

A Chinese policy attempted to crack down on methane, but it proved ineffective, researchers say.


Growing up in dirty air ‘quadruples chances of developing depression’

Young people more likely to have depression at 18 if exposed to dirtier air at age 12.


Factory farms pollute the environment and poison drinking water

Hog waste can contain potentially dangerous pathogens, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.


Counties with dirtier air have more stroke deaths

Counties with higher levels of fine particulate (PM2.5) air pollution have more stroke deaths and shorter life expectancies among their citizenry. About half of US counties have annual air pollution levels that exceed guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency.


Scientists use Nobel-prize winning chemistry for clean energy breakthrough

Scientists have used a Nobel-prize winning Chemistry technique on a mixture of metals to potentially reduce the cost of fuel cells used in electric cars and reduce harmful emissions from conventional vehicles. The researchers have translated a biological technique to reveal atomic scale chemistry in metal nanoparticles. These materials are one of the most effective catalysts for energy converting systems such as fuel cells.


Prairie strips transform farmland conservation

Converting low-profit land brings big returns


A Green New Deal must include food and farming

Congressman Earl Blumenauer is calling for solid, lasting bonds between the climate justice movement and the movement to reform the food system.


Hazardous substances found in over 90% of tested cosmetics in Rwanda

Rwanda has seized 4,501 cosmetics products as part of its efforts to enforce a ban on the sale of those containing hazardous skin-lightening agents.


Global trends are major cause for concern, says UN chemicals report

The summary report highlights megatrends, such as global economic and population growth, as areas that are affecting market demand for chemicals, creating both risks and opportunities.


European companies secure record amounts of wind power

European companies bought a record amount of wind power capacity last year, as energy-hungry businesses like aluminum producers and IT giants look for greener ways to drive their machinery and data centers.


Harnessing light for a solar-powered chemical industry

Chemical manufacturing accounts for 10 percent of global energy consumption and 7 percent of industrial greenhouse gas emissions. In the US, it uses more energy than any other industry. Now researchers have developed a new nano-enhanced material that can capture 99% of light and convert it to power chemical reactions. As well as reducing the environmental impact of chemical manufacturing, the innovation could in future help deliver technologies like better infrared cameras and solar-powered water desalination.


The ‘Batman’ in hydrogen fuel cells

In a study published in Nature on Jan. 31, researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) report advances in the development of hydrogen fuel cells that could increase its application in vehicles, especially in extreme temperatures like cold winters.


New study shows how vegans, vegetarians and omnivores feel about eating insects

Many non-vegan vegetarians and omnivores are open to including insects in their diet. For vegans, however, that is not an option, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows.


Big cities feed on their hinterlands to sustain growth

Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden call into question an influential theory of the self-reinforcing dynamics of urban growth. Their research, published in Science Advances, shows that big cities feed on their hinterlands to sustain growth, thereby escalating the urban-rural divide in economic prosperity and individual life chances. Individuals who leave small areas for large cities are better educated and have higher cognitive abilities than those who stay.


Here’s what happens to our plastic recycling when it goes offshore

Monique Retamal et al

Since China stopped accepting Australia’s recyclable plastic, the majority of exported plastic waste is now going to developing nations in South East Asia.


When the heat hits: how to make our homes comfortable without cranking up the aircon

Trivess Moore et al

Lochiel Park in Adelaide was Australia’s first large-scale attempt to create homes that use near net zero energy


7 reasons Democrats won’t pass a green new deal

Robinson Meyer

The task is enormous, and the path is narrow.


Not another online petition! But here’s why you should think before deleting it

Sky Croeser

Even if nothing happens immediately, petitions are one of many ways we can help build long-term change.


Nature Conservation

Mussels lose grip when exposed to microplastics – study

Researchers say effects will be felt beyond molluscs as reefs shelter other marine life


Urban Biodiversity: Remarkable Diversity of Small Animals in Basel Gardens

Gardens in urban areas can harbor a remarkable diversity of species. This has been found by researchers in a field study carried out with the support of private garden owners from the Basel region.


Keep your ‘wits’ about you to protect the oceans

Gerard Neil wants to draw attention to ocean protection by advocating for the use of natural rope instead of plastic rope in the fishing industry.


Everglades, red tide focus of Florida governor’s environmental budget

Gov. Ron DeSantis said his environmental budget will include a “historic commitment” to water resources, Everglades restoration and a “historic amount of money” for red tide research.


Key sea star predator wiped out by disease and abnormally warm waters

From California to British Columbia, the abundance of sunflower starfish — an important predator in the Northeast Pacific — declined dramatically in both nearshore and deep waters from 2013 to 2015, according to a new study that leveraged citizen science diving surveys. This significant decline was due to the sea star wasting disease that ravaged the waters of the Northeast Pacific during this time.



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