Daily Links Apr 24

Time to freak out about climate change, says Bill McKibben. Climate change is not my top priority, says the head of the US EPA. I’m with Bill.

Post of the Day

Australia’s ‘watergate’: here’s what taxpayers need to know about water buybacks

Lin Crase

The federal government committed to reducing water extraction from the Murray-Darling Basin. 


Today’s Celebration

Armenian Genocide Memorial Day – Armenia

National Concord Day – Niger

Democracy Day – Nepal

International Guide Dog Day

World YWCA Day

International Noise Awareness Day

World Day for Laboratory Animals

International Sculpture Day

Denim Day

Fashion Revolution Day

More about Apr 24


Climate Change

Melting permafrost in Arctic will have $70tn climate impact – study

Study shows how destabilised natural systems will worsen man-made problem


UK Labour endorses Extinction Rebellion activists after week of protest

Shadow health secretary pledges to make climate change a central policy focus


Greta Thunberg tells MPs: ‘Our future was sold’ – video

Greta Thunberg took her climate message to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on Tuesday. The 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist told a packed room that her future and the futures of her fellow children had been ‘sold’.


EPA head asked to back up claim that climate change is ’50 to 75 years out’

US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler is being asked to back up recent claims that climate change consequences are still “50 to 75 years out.”


Economic inequality gets worse under climate change, study finds

Global warming is having a serious impact on economic growth across the world — and it’s worse for poor places that already had a lot of catching up to do, a study by two Stanford University researchers shows.


It’s time to pay our climate debt to countries like Mozambique

As a start, the US and other Western countries must help rebuild the vast areas destroyed by Cyclone Idai.


Americans more concerned about pollution in drinking water than climate change

A new report shows strong regional differences in the amount of concern Americans have for global warming.


New studies highlight challenge of meeting Paris Agreement climate goals

New research highlights the ‘incredible challenge’ of reaching the Paris Agreement without intense action and details the extreme temperatures parts of the planet will suffer if countries fail to reduce emissions.


When should you freak out about climate change? Right now.

Author Bill McKibben makes the case against calm.


Climate change solutions 2019: a Global Deal for Nature

Greg Asner

The best way to curb greenhouse gas emissions and remove gases from the atmosphere is by storing carbon in natural ecosystems.



Labor to seek probe into water scandal

Labor has stopped short of backing a push for a royal commission into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, but wants an inquiry into a controversial water purchase.


Everything we know about water buybacks, Barnaby Joyce and Angus Taylor

The election campaign has been diverted towards a controversy around water buybacks in the Murray-Darling.


Auditor-general to examine water buybacks

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has asked the auditor-general to review water buybacks since 2008 following controversy over a 2017 deal.


Could intelligent sensors and smart devices in pipes fix Australia’s water crisis?

Smart water meters are being trialled across Australia as new data shows the recent drought will wipe billions of dollars from farm production this financial year.


‘Chooks coming home to roost’: Former senator warned of water deals years ago

For years, former senator Bill Heffernan was a lone voice in the Liberal Party, warning big water buybacks by taxpayers were “a fairytale” a “con job” and “a fraud” and “cooking the books”.


Murray-Darling water buyback: factcheck of Scott Morrison’s claims

How accurate is the prime minister’s defence of purchases made when Barnaby Joyce was minister?


Barnaby Joyce said this water plan could reduce the effects of drought. Is he right?

Barnaby Joyce’s suggestion to redirect floodwater to arid parts of the country would be costly, impractical and probably ineffective, experts told RMIT ABC Fact Check.


Explainer: What are water buybacks and how did we get here?

Water is a precious commodity and its management in Australia has been fraught. What is the backdrop to the most recent controversy over water buybacks – and what are they actually?


Did Barnaby Joyce miss an opportunity to get a better deal on water buybacks?

A Murray-Darling Basin community leader says the former agriculture minister originally opposed water purchases as the Queensland Government suggests there was a better deal.


What Vote Compass tells us about voters’ views on immigration

The voters of Australia don’t always agree with the immigration policies of the party they support. Though there’s one clear exception.


Labor promises to hold inland rail inquiry

Labor has promised to hold an inquiry into the Brisbane to Melbourne inland rail project if it wins government.


Australia ‘risks missing out’ on battery industry [$]

With global demand for batteries projected to see rapid growth, Australia has a window of opportunity to develop new industries.


How climate change is affecting the Australian wine industry

What is global warming doing to our wine? It is a question on the minds of many in the Australian industry.


Some real climate change facts for Coalition

In response to more selective modelling being used by the Coalition to attack even modest policy proposals to cut climate pollution, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has pointed to some basic facts on the real costs of climate change.


Hanson denies humans behind climate change, blames ‘fearmongering’

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson says humans are not behind the causes of climate change which she believes has been happening since dinosaurs were around.


Federal Labor pledge to scrap CFI water barriers will drive plantation growth and create jobs

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) strongly welcomes Federal Labor’s election commitment to remove artificial Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) barriers that are holding back new plantations and future timber supply, Chief Executive Officer of AFPA, Mr Ross Hampton said today.


Australian energy companies surge ahead of US’s Iran oil sanctions

Australia’s major energy companies have surged by $1.7 billion in value after the US crackdown on buyers of Iranian oil is set to push up oil prices and producers’ bottom lines.


Congestion ‘a spurious argument’ to cut migrant intake [$]

Minister for cities Alan Tudge says the federal government’s “modest reduction” in the permanent migration rate will go a long way to balance economic growth with liveability concerns.


Environmental groups call for change in department over Adani concerns

Environmental groups are calling for a change in the federal environment department’s leadership.


‘No question it could be done’: Tesla chief Elon Musk says Labor’s EV plan is actually behind the times

Tesla’s founder Elon Musk decided to involve himself in the Twitter backlash about electric car policy in Australia.


‘Slashed’: Morrison government delays assessments for threatened species

Almost two dozen threatened species and habitats have had their threat updates postponed by the federal government.


Green on top, clean inside: What our buildings need for our health

More needs to be done to push stronger uptake of green roofs on skyscrapers in cities, experts urge, after another study shows their health benefits.


ALP’s carbon KO for firms [$]

Australia’s top companies will be hit with bills up to $1.6bn each to meet Labor’s emissions targets.


Politicians’ reluctance on climate change is bizarre – action would not only be right but popular

Jeff Sparrow

Ordinary people want radical climate policies so why do we not have policies that mirror that?


Both parties still in climate policy black hole

AFR View

The election underline the deep contradictions on climate policy — is it about the planet or power bills?


Government’s water buyback probe needs to be expanded

Canberra Times editorial

The Morrison government’s belated decision to ask the Auditor-General, Grant Hehir, to review a string of multimillion-dollar water buybacks spanning a decade is poor timing.


Cheap political shots are working against the national interest

John Hewson

When it is your uncle, or Doomsday Daryl in the lunchroom, that touts conservative mistruths about technical developments, you might be willing to do an internal eye roll and just let it be. But when it is the Prime Minister, it is somewhat more concerning.


Joyce could be facing waves at a judicial inquiry after the election

Michelle Grattan

It’s hard to believe Barnaby Joyce really wants to lead the Nationals again. Of course everyone knows he does, desperately, but his unhinged ABC interview with Patricia Karvelas on Monday showed a breathtaking absence of political judgement or personal restraint.


Australia’s ‘watergate’: here’s what taxpayers need to know about water buybacks

Lin Crase

The federal government committed to reducing water extraction from the Murray-Darling Basin. 


Watergate scandal isn’t corruption — it’s how Australian capitalism works [$]

Bernard Keane

The “watergate” scandal around the purchase of water from a politically-connected tax exile isn’t atypical of Australian capitalism — it’s the model for much of Australian business.


How and why ‘watergate’ became a major story [$]

Emily Watkins

The bare bones of the water buyback story have been around for a while — so why is it dominating the political news cycle now?


Battery storage metrics highlight Australia’s lack of de-carbonisation policy

David Leitch

US study shows battery storage can compete with gas. But in Australia there is no federal policy to help that happen.


Know your NEM: How to replace a $3.5 trillion industry

David Leitch

There’s about $3.5 trillion of revenue each year from the “mine mouth” value of global coal, gas and oil sales.


Renewables clearly the answer as Bob Brown marches on Adani mine

Giles Parkinson

Another major report has underlined the case for renewable energy to provide the lowest cost, most sustainable solution for Australia’s energy needs – noting that fossil fuels are still heavily subsidised while renewables need little more than policy certainty and guidance.


Indigenous-led clean-energy projects could power reconciliation

Heather Castleden

Many remote Indigenous communities are not connected to the electrical grid and produce their own electricity using diesel generators.



Victorian water corps turn to solar energy

Victorian water corporations have formed a group to secure cheaper renewable energy in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


New permit to clean up charity and recycling donation bins

In a move to help tackle illegally dumped waste Monash Council will introduce an Occupy Roadway Permit – Application for Clothing and Recycling Bin.


New Environment Protection Act explained at Traralgon Open House

Businesses in Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s (EPA) Gippsland area are being invited to hear how the new Environment Protection Act will affect them at an Open House in Traralgon on Tuesday 30 April 2019.


The push to help Melburnians get to work faster

Fed up with commuting? A plan to create more jobs in the suburbs is gaining traction, but also faces its own challenges.


Possum surge locks up forest [$]

Victoria’s 4000 timber workers and their communities are demanding an immediate review of logging bans around Leadbeater’s possum colonies, following a massive surge in sightings.


Victoria holds back on action against activists

Victorian Government reluctance to change laws impacting animal activists is in stark contrast with the federal and Queensland governments announcing new laws.


First production delivered from Murra Warra wind farm in Victoria

First production delivered from Murra Warra wind farm near Horsham in Victoria, that will deliver cheap electricity to Telstra and other corporate buyers.


New South Wales

Downpour fills dams, soaks paddocks in drought-hardened far western NSW

From 85 millimetres of rain in a year to more than 50mm in a day, widespread Easter rain raises spirits from Bourke to Menindee.


Europe’s love affair with electric cars drives Clarence Valley copper quest

Australia may be on the cusp of electric cars, but could the production of environmentally friendly vehicles mean the loss of some of the Clarence Valley’s stunning forests?


Call to bring back water restrictions as Melbourne’s big dry drags on

Victoria’s Opposition has called for the reintroduction of water restrictions in Melbourne as the city experiences its driest start to the year on record.



Canberra light rail breaks down just three days after opening

A software issue has been blamed for the breakdown of a tram on Canberra’s light rail line, just three days after it opened to the public.


Light rail system launches with first public trips between Gungahlin and the City

About 25,000 people got on board for the first day of Canberra’s new light rail line.


A lesson in double-speak, courtesy of your non-existent school bus

Michael Shoebridge

I was a fan of the light rail. Canberra needed better public transport to not have the car-clogged roads of other cities.



Adani an Australian litmus test: Bob Brown

Former Greens leader Bob Brown says the Adani mine is a test of Australia’s intelligence.


Brown’s Adani protest under fire [$]

Traditional owners have blasted Bob Brown as his protest convoy prepares to roll on to their ancient lands without their consent.


Facebook removes illegal pro-Adani social media advertising

The Australian Electoral Commission has requested social media giants Facebook and Twitter take down unauthorised political advertising from an anti-Labor and pro-Adani group, SBS News can reveal.


Business leaders call on Shorten to disclose Adani stance

Business leaders are urging Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to state his position on the Adani coal mine, amid conflicting statements by Labor candidates in marginal seats in Queensland and Melbourne.


Bill Shorten bristles at grilling on Adani [$]

Bill Shorten zeroed in on foreign workers when he campaigned in regional Queensland on Tuesday, but couldn’t escape another day of grilling over the Adani mine.


Bill Shorten’s coal stance could hurt marginal Labor seats [$]

BILL Shorten is refusing to sign a CFMMEU pledge in support of coal mining that several of his candidates in must-win Queensland seats have lent their names to.


On parole, but given a chance: The recycling plant that’s changing lives

Raymond Skinner was struggling to find work while on parole, but a waste facility has given this Queenslander a chance to turn his life around.


Are climate sceptic Peter Ridd’s controversial reef views validated by his unfair dismissal win?

Jo Khan

Marine physicist Peter Ridd has won his case for unfair dismissal against James Cook University, but his views as a climate sceptic were not on trial.


South Australia

Campaign wrap: Joyce interview fuels a fire the PM wants extinguished

Scott Morrison took his campaign to South Australia in a bid to hold a marginal seat but Barnaby Joyce continued to attract the attention over his handling of a 2017 water deal.


How healthy is your bin?

The City of Swan is conducting a health check of bins to help the community improve their recycling habits and reduce waste contamination.


Give me a home among the gum trees [$]

Named after Bush for Life operations manager Peter Watton, “Peter” the western pygmy possum is the face of the latest Trees For Life campaign, a Home Lottery with a difference.


Adelaide’s public transport tender demands “notable” cuts

Transport Minister Stephan Knoll is promising improvements to Adelaide’s public transport system – which he says is among the worst in the world – despite the tender documents for the new bus contract stipulating a “notable reduction in subsidies”.


Study reveals ‘quite disturbing’ contamination of Tasmanian lakes

Tasmania trades on its reputation for unspoiled and beautiful natural landscapes — but a recent study shows some lakes in the state’s Wilderness World Heritage Area have metal contamination levels among the highest ever recorded.


Freycinet lock out ‘would be bedlam’ [$]

East Coast tourism operators are in mixed minds on whether capping tourist numbers to Freycinet will alleviate the pressures facing the major Tasmanian tourism attraction.


Push to rid state of platypus death traps [$]

They may be illegal in Tasmania but “opera house” nets — most commonly used to catch yabbies on the mainland — are still being used here and are killing our precious wildlife.


Northern Territory

Illegal poacher faces jail after pleading guilty to wildlife offences

Poacher Keerthi Raja Eswaran, who was found with dozens of rotting native animal parts in his Darwin house in December 2018 to sell on the black market, is a “conservationist”, his lawyer says.


Finniss lithium mine a step closer to reality

Core Lithium has confirmed its Finniss Lithium Project 80km west of Darwin is likely to be Australia’s next lithium mine


Western Australia

Dozens of birds dead, sick following botulism outbreak in Perth

Dozens of birds have died and others are seriously ill following an outbreak of botulism in several lakes across the Perth area.


WA’s $22 billion carbon cost hit

WA businesses could be hit by up to $22 billion in extra costs as a result of Labor’s plan to reduce carbon emissions by 45 per cent.


Water Corporation submits plans for $1 billion desalination plant to fix Perth water supply

The Water Corporation is planning to spend more than $1 billion to head off Perth’s next water supply crunch by pre-emptively seeking approval to build a giant desalination plant in the city’s north or south.



More than 50 feared dead in Myanmar mine collapse

A total of 54 workers were trapped when a jade mine and machinery were buried under a huge “mud lake” in Myanmar.


Earth Day’s sustainable insect munchies

Advocates of edible insects are singing the environmental benefits of sprinkling your dishes with crickets, grasshoppers and ants. People in New York shared their cooking tips as the world marked Earth Day.


Travelling with purpose

Travel that supports sustainable, long-term economic growth is a growing travel trend, especially to destinations in the developing world.


Dumping plastic waste in Asia found destroying crops and health

Plastic waste imports into Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam jumped from mid-2017 to early 2018, leading to illegal operations dumping and open-burning


This activist uses a little shaming and lots of data to clean up Chinese factories

“There were all these fire-breathing Greenpeace types. And then there was Ma Jun.”


What are ‘floating cities’ in climate change?

Oceanix is building a prototype floating island as an experimental solution for crowded coastal cities threatened by climate change, the company told the United Nations habitat program earlier this month.


Can Buddhism help save the planet?

Yes it can, argues the new book Ecodharma — but only if Buddhism saves itself first and seeks enlightenment for everyone.


Nuclear energy: New poll looks at whether Americans think it counts as clean energy

A new poll gets deep into voter preferences on climate policy.


Get set for take-off in electric aircraft, the next transport disruption

Jake Whitehead and Michael Kane

Multiple forms of electric aircraft are being developed rapidly. 


Reducing agricultural carbon emissions good for the planet and our stomachs

Lauren McKee

From soil microbes to factory farming, the Green New Deal could radically improve our food system.


Nature Conservation

A million species face extinction due to humans, UN report finds

Up to a million species face extinction due to the actions of humanity, a new UN report finds.


The UK has already had more wildfires in 2019 than any year on record

Just four months into 2019, the UK has been hit by more large wildfires than in the whole of 2018. Fires are thought to be made more likely by climate change.


The buzz about bumble bees isn’t good

While many scientists are focused on the decline of honey bees, relatively few study bumble bees. The good news is that a new study provides an estimate on bumble bee population and distributions across Michigan in the past century. The bad news is that these results are dramatically low, and they mirror what’s happening across the Americas, Europe and Asia, too.


Soft tissue makes coral tougher in the face of climate change

A new study conducted by scientists at the University of Hawai’i (UH) at Mānoa and the California Academy of Sciences revealed soft tissues that cover the rocky coral skeleton promote the recovery of corals following a bleaching event.




Maelor Himbury

6 Florence St Niddrie 3042