Daily Links Jul 27

We keep saying that if only people knew about climate change, they’d act. But there’s plenty of evidence that it’s a matter of values, not knowledge. As my apple-cheeked mater used to say, there’re none so deaf as those that will not hear. By all means journos, get on board, but don’t think that that is all there is to be done. 

Post of the Day

Could renewable natural gas be the next big thing in green energy?

For decades, small-scale biogas systems have collected methane from landfills, sewage plants, and farms. Now, in Europe and the U.S., the growth of this renewable form of natural gas is taking off as businesses capture large amounts of methane from manure, food waste, and other sources.


Today’s Celebration

Victory Day – North Korea

National Dance Day – USA

Remembrance Day – Vietnam

Iglesia ni Cristo Day – Philippines

José Celso Barbosa Day – Puerto Rico

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day – USA

Walk On Stilts Day

Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day


Climate Change

Europe hit by heatwave and hailstorms as experts warn Greenland ice could melt

Soaring temperatures break records in Germany, France and the Netherlands, as a heatwave grips Europe for the second time in a month. Experts warn the heat could move north towards Greenland causing record ice melts.


A new commitment to covering the climate story

“Can we tell the story so people get it?” That’s the mission TV newsman Bill Moyers urged at the launch of Covering Climate Now, a project aimed at breaking the climate silence that has long prevailed within too much of the news media.


Climate change more important than Brexit, say majority of Brits

Around 61% of people believe the government isn’t doing enough to prioritise climate change.


Heatwave: think it’s hot in Europe? The human body is already close to thermal limits elsewhere

Tom Matthews

I am a scientist who researches climate hazards. This week I have published research on the potential for a catastrophic cyclone-heatwave combo in the global south. Yet over the past few days I have been approached by…



Major insurer Suncorp vows to stop covering thermal coal projects

The latest announcement means there are now no Australian insurers willing to underwrite new thermal coal projects, experts and advocates say.


Worried about your recycling going to landfill? There are alternatives to the yellow bin

Bin-sharing with strangers on social media, donating to op shops and boosting compost carbon — if you’re worried about where your rubbish will end up during Australia’s recycling crisis, there are plenty of ways to get creative.


Bid to avoid climate stoush [$]

Marise Payne is working with Pacific countries to avoid a row over climate change.


How BHP’s climate stance caught its fellow miners on the hop [$]

Andrew Mackenzie’s speech heralds big changes in approach to climate change and emissions reduction.


Key socio-economic and environmental indicators for Australia 2016-17:

The average Australian household consumed 203 kL of water and 135.2 GJ of energy.


Don’t be duped by activists [$]

Des Houghton

Counter terrorism chief warns Extinction Rebellion has a deeply “subversive” agenda rooted in the “political extremism of anarchism”.


This week’s scandal proved it: Angus Taylor is the weakest link

Paula Matthewson

Do you remember the fabulous game show of the early 2000s, where Australia’s answer to Nurse Ratchet, Cornelia Frances, would cruelly intone “You are the weakest link. Goodbye” to hapless contestants when their time was up?


Our climate inaction will destroy our Pacific neighbours

Richie Merzian

The single greatest threat to Australia and the Pacific is climate change. But given Australia’s actions over the last 12 months, you wouldn’t know it. The Australian government is only willing to pay lip service to what addressing that threat requires: serious climate action.


How good is BHP’s pledge to tackle climate emergency?

Giles Parkinson

BHP has pledged to spend lots of money on new technologies and clean up its supply chain. But they said that a decade ago. Has anything changed?


Demand Response: We still haven’t found what we are looking for …

Simon Camroux

AEMC needs to make some changes if their demand response proposal is to get the right outcome, and pave way for a truly two-sided market.



‘Devastated’: Recycling crisis escalates as major council contractor suddenly stops collecting

Recyclables from dozens of Victorian councils now look destined to go straight to landfill, as a major recycling company announces it will no longer take their waste, effective immediately.


The art of clean living

Art and science intersect at Melbourne Science Gallery’s month-long exploration of the global waste crisis.


Last-ditch bid to save recycling from landfill [$]

Troubled recycling giant SKM has told up to 30 Victorian councils they’ll stop taking their waste. But the government has today scrambled to try and stop tonnes of recycling being dumped in landfill.


New South Wales

Coal operator’s dire warning amid push to expand under Sydney water catchment

Jobs growth versus environmental concerns reignite with a coal company’s proposed expansion under Sydney’s water supply.


‘Shocking’: Mining damage in Sydney’s catchment prompts calls for halt

Flows from a “significant” water source for one of Sydney’s dams are turning orange and disappearing beneath the surface because of an underground coal mine.


NSW Farmers call for royal commission into Murray-Darling Basin Plan

A motion calling for a royal commission into the MDBP narrowly passes on the final day of the NSW Farmers Conference.


NSW set to overtake South Australia as top renewables generator

South Australia has been a global pioneer in the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy, but a new report has found the state is set to lose its lead in the national renewables stakes to an unlikely contender – New South Wales.



Landlords need more power to help make their dwellings more energy efficient

Crispin Hull

The energy efficiency ratings in Canberra’s rental market are appalling, according to a survey published this week, and it is almost certainly mirrored in other places.



Sediment is causing the Great Barrier Reef significant harm, but a fix is contentious

New laws are before Queensland Parliament to protect the Great Barrier Reef from harmful nutrient and sediment run-off, with a voluntary scheme not working fast enough according to the Environment Minister.


Going out with a bang: Sex-charged marsupial’s future in south-east Qld in doubt

An endangered marsupial — known for mating itself to death — disappears from one of its most prominent Queensland habitats.


When the wind doesn’t blow here, maybe it’s blowing over there

How do Queensland’s wind resources fit with the rest of Australia’s? There’s not much data out there yet, but what there is is encouraging.


South Australia

Enraged dump operators fined after astonishing rant [$]

A father and son who ran an illegal northern suburbs waste depot — and launched a furious voicemail tirade against the EPA officers who investigated it — have been punished in court.


Bigger buffer zones for wind farms [$]

Bigger buffers zones are needed for wind and solar, the SA Planning Commission says. Renewable energy projects have grown at a rapid pace and stronger regulation is needed, it says.


IGA joins group powering up a new era in renewable energy [$]

IGA has joined a diverse group of businesses as part of a consortium which will buy energy from Sanjeev Gupta’s Cultana Solar Farm.


Council: Residents have nothing to worry about [$]

A council has admitted it has not told residents they are living near land contaminated with the firefighting chemical PFAS, saying it does not threaten their health.


South Australia says Tesla virtual power plant charging ahead

South Australia says second phase of Tesla virtual power plant going well, and it now looking at third phase which could deliver a 250MW VPP.


Explainer: This is how much Tasmania’s climate has changed in the past 100 years

Australia’s southernmost state is known for its pristine wilderness, cold winters and breathtaking vistas — but Tasmania is getting hotter and drier, and sea levels are rising.


Author John C. Douglas spins a new tale on Tasmanian spiders

Not many people would refer to spiders as “beautiful”, but for author John C. Douglas arachnids are a fascinating creature worthy of attention.


Wind farm industry delivers a fatal blow

Bird experts fear the fast-developing Tasmanian wind farm industry will bring about the extinction of eagle species on the island.


Race to build Tasmanian seed bank [$]

The Tasmanian seed bank project has a goal of collecting 75 per cent of seeds from the state’s rare and threatened species by 2020, but the target has been hampered by bushfires and record dry weather.


Locals divided over Freycinet cap [$]

Coles Bay appears divided on whether a cap is needed on visitor numbers entering Freycinet National Park.


Bird deaths findings kept under wraps [$]

A Tasmanian council at the centre of a controversial bird cull will not release the findings of an investigation into the poisonings.


New wind farm ready to join the grid [$]

A new transmission line and substation are ready to start transmitting power as a Central Highlands wind farm moves closer to completion.


Coast to host state’s next iconic walk [$]

A “rugged and spectacular” region of the state has been chosen as the site for a $20 million walking track to build on the success of the Overland and Three Capes tracks.


Wave Swell Energy set to test new power generator off King Island

Wave energy demonstration plant to be trialled off King Island, Tasmania, where it will be integrated with existing wind, diesel and solar resources – a first in Australia.


Western Australia

Call for buyback scheme for Pilbara homes scarred by dust pollution

A West Australian MP says he will push for major iron ore industry players to buy up residential properties in Port Hedland, amid a long-running dispute over dust pollution levels in the Pilbara town.


Spectacular WA archipelago now a national park

A near-pristine archipelago off Western Australia has almost entirely been made a national park, but whether it will ultimately get Rottnest Island-style development in a bid to attract tourists is unclear.



Abandoned Siberian factory could cause Chernobyl-style disaster, warns official

The former chlorine plant still contains an array of toxic substances and is “essentially the territory of an environmental catastrophe”, an environment watchdog warns.


A dead end for fossil fuel in Europe’s city centers

Two dozen cities are banning diesels over the next decade.


Could renewable natural gas be the next big thing in green energy?

For decades, small-scale biogas systems have collected methane from landfills, sewage plants, and farms. Now, in Europe and the U.S., the growth of this renewable form of natural gas is taking off as businesses capture large amounts of methane from manure, food waste, and other sources.


Green Infrastructure and the creative future of carbon capture

AILA’s green infrastructure position statement highlights its many values with carbon capture deserving more creative attention


Power plant: how a grass might generate fuel and help fix damaged mine lands

An area the size of Delaware has been damaged by strip mining in Appalachia.


Argentine waste pickers find livelihood, community in mountain of trash

Around the giant waste heap, a community of unofficial recyclers has emerged, in part driven by necessity of pulling people out of hardship.


Spain and Bulgaria referred to EU court of justice over air pollution

The EU Commission has referred Spain and Bulgaria to the European Court of Justice for failing to protect citizens from air pollution.


The Chernobyl disaster is an exact mirror of modern ruin

Guy Rundle

HBO’s hit mini-series Chernobyl is a register of the recent mass, unsettling realisation that humanity may simply lack the ability to put in place the overarching processes required to arrest the meltdown occurring at our core.


How to make sure you really are an ethical investor

Nicholas Stotz

Investors looking to avoid undesirable companies need to conduct their own research to verify whether a fund advertised as ethical actually is.


Nature Conservation

Scientists are stumped about why this stump is still alive

Trees may be more connected than we think, suggests a new study that provides the first evidence neighbouring trees directly share water through their root systems.


Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson: ‘I call what we do aggressive non-violence’

New documentary Defend, Conserve, Protect follows the conservation organisation’s anti-whaling missions and plays out like a war movie on the high seas


Now for something completely different …

Fudged research results erode people’s trust in experts

Gavin Moodie

A database of retractions shows hundreds of academic articles with Australian authors have been withdrawn. Research misconduct threatens to corrode trust in academic qualifications and publications.



Maelor Himbury

6 Florence St Niddrie 3042