Daily Links May 21

It seems that there is no end to the perfidy of the fossil fool generators, here using the cover of COVID19 to delay change that is so much in the public and planet’s interest.

Post of the Day

Leaked plan for huge gas subsidies

A leaked draft report for the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission details plans for a taxpayer-supported investment into new gas fields and pipelines that would operate for decades.


On This Day

May 21

Ascension Day – Western Christianity


Coronavirus Watch

Confirmed cases: 7,079. Deaths: 100


This data shows how Australia is emerging from coronavirus isolation

Data collated by the ABC reveals how Australia is progressing as we rebound back to life after the easing of coronavirus restrictions.


How the coronavirus pandemic slashed carbon emissions – in five graphs

Near-real-time data on carbon emissions reveal the sectors, countries and events that had the most impact, but it is unclear how long the dip will last.


WHO says cut to funding would be a disaster, as highest case total recorded for a single day

The comments come on a day when a total of 106,000 COVID-19 cases were reported to WHO over a 24-hour period, the most in a single day since the outbreak began.


When the Coronavirus Supplement stops, JobSeeker needs to increase by $185 a week

Peter Whiteford

The Morrison government says the Coronavirus Supplement won’t last forever. This means JobSeeker Payment will need a huge boost to keep people out of poverty.


Climate Change

Aggressive carbon taxation could help US meet targets in Paris agreement

A new study looked at US tax policy as it relates to carbon dioxide (CO2), from 2015 through 2030. The study found only limited short-term opportunities for decarbonization (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) outside the electricity sector. The result is substantial CO2 tax revenue. The findings shed light on future tax policy decisions.


Climate change will turn coastal Antarctica green, say scientists

Scientists have created the first ever large-scale map of microscopic algae as they bloomed across the surface of snow along the Antarctic Peninsula coast. Results indicate that this ‘green snow’ is likely to spread as global temperatures increase.


There’s a lot less pollution but climate change is still getting worse

These studies are not going to make you feel better about the pandemic’s effects on warming.


Great potential in regulating plant greenhouse gas emissions

New discoveries on the regulation of plant emissions of isoprenoids can help in fighting climate change – and can become key to the production of valuable green chemicals.



Regulators flag delays to 16 energy reform projects as fossil fuel interests dig in

Regulators flag potential delays to 16 key market reforms, protecting incumbent generators from threat of new technologies.


Lockdown triggers explosion in citizen science — care to join?

This Friday, marks the UN’s International Day for Biological Diversity and the Australian Conservation Foundation is using that day to launch a new 2-week nature discovery activity, #NatureNearYou.


Energy Insiders Podcast: Could Market Forces bring an end to coal and gas?

Julien Vincent from Market Forces on the campaign to get banks, investment houses and superannuation funds to switch away from fossil fuels and into new clean technologies.


‘Paying for the mistakes of others’: Why energy bosses want to be able to shut down household solar

The energy market regulator wants the ability to switch off or constrain the output of household solar systems when the grid is overwhelmed, and not everyone is pleased.


Gas Driving Climate Change: new report

Gas is highly polluting, driving climate change, and the reason power prices have been so high for Australians on the east coast over the past several years, experts have warned in a new Climate Council report.


Gas-fired rebuild ‘polluting and dangerous’, green groups warn

Environment groups have condemned the Morrison government’s championing of gas in Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery, saying fossil fuels will lock in carbon emissions and higher energy prices.


Government listening to science on both coronavirus and climate change, Angus Taylor says

Energy Minister Angus Taylor says the federal government has listened to scientific advice on climate change and he sees no difference with the coronavirus response.


New nuclear technologies to be examined in planning Australia’s energy mix

Small modular reactors ‘have potential’, investment roadmap discussion paper says


Fears $100m resources fund could be seen as ‘another sports rorts’

The $100 million resources community infrastructure fund had the potential to be seen as another sports rorts issue, according to political commentator Paul Williams.


Transport and agriculture pushed to cut carbon emissions [$]

Transport and agricultural sectors will be asked to do their fair share to reduce carbon emissions as part of the Morrison government’s technology road map.


Cheap gas plan panned as ‘pie in the sky’ [$]

Gas industry players and analysts poured cold water on the suggestion that a $6 billion west-east pipeline could ever be economical, with some arguing the idea of “cheap gas” to underpin a post-COVID-19 economic revival is unrealistic.


Leaked plan for huge gas subsidies

A leaked draft report for the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission details plans for a taxpayer-supported investment into new gas fields and pipelines that would operate for decades.


Lobbyists thwart Government levy plan designed to tackle pests and diseases

After more than a year of lobbying by cement, minerals and freight industry groups, the Federal Government abandons a promise that would raise millions of dollars to protect Australian farmers from pests and diseases.


Alarming number of homes left uninsurable by our horror summers

Nearly half a million Australians will soon be unable to afford to insure their homes as the climate crisis worsens our bushfire seasons, a report reveals.


Do you know your eucalypts? Or will our quiz stump you?

Eucalypts of all different shapes and sizes dominate the Australian landscape. But how much do you know about this iconic plant?


Morrison government dangles new carrots for industry but fails to fix bigger climate policy problem

Frank Jotzo

Changes to Australia’s emissions reduction policies may do little more than channel taxpayer money to industry.


How to change the colour of Australia’s Coronavirus climate recovery

Ketan Joshi

In the panic and anxiety of those early days of the pandemic, fossil fuel advocates were calmly and openly forming a plan to capture the process of economic recovery.


Is the Coalition’s gas nirvana just an attempt to have its fossil fuel cake and eat it too?

Katharine Murphy

Ten years ago politicians used to talk up the virtues of gas as a transitional fuel. But that was 10 years ago


Climate plan leaves the hard work to others

Nick O’Malley

There are some positive signs in the government’s draft climate change plan, but it falls short of serious action.


Government’s tech roadmap reveals its talent for wasting time

David Crowe

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is catching up on ideas he dismissed just a year ago, but he has to bring his backbenchers with him.


Hydrogen a key player for tech recovery [$]

Simon Benson

Investment and tax incentives to drive cheaper energy costs, lower carbon emissions, and new technologies to help reboot key sectors including manufacturing are likely to be included in the October budget as a major plank of the post-pandemic economic recovery.


Climate measures fall well short

Age editorial

The Coalition has now spent seven years in government without a coherent policy on reducing greenhouse emissions. It is time to stop the charade.


Energy road map must lead to the marketplace [$]

AFR View

Australia’s road map to a lower-emissions future must be gas-fired.


Gas reservation is not a bogyman [$]

Colin Barnett

Holding back gas for domestic use creates no losers, and makes the gas industry popular. It’s time to extend it.


Don’t think of what we used to have – think of what we could have

Peter Boyer

The Morrison government wants us to recover our past, but that’s the last thing we need.


After the bushfires, we helped choose the animals and plants in most need. Here’s how we did it

John Woinarski et al

How fast can an animal run? How intense was the fire? Picking which species to help after a bushfire tragedy is no easy task.



Revamp breathes new life into Altona and Newport Reserves

Works to improve two of Hobsons Bay’s reserves will start this month.


Distancing tipped to fuel gridlock unless more cycle, walk or stay home

About 85 per cent of public transport users will have to switch to bicycles, walk or continue to work from home in order to avoid major traffic jams as COVID-19 restrictions ease, according to new research.


Storm wreaks havoc across Victoria

Homes have been damaged across Victoria after a freak storm swept across the state.


New South Wales

Massive 1000MW “baseload” wind, solar and hydrogen plant pitched for NSW

New South Wales could become host to one of Australia’s first solar, wind and hydrogen “baseload” power plants, under a multi-billion dollar plan pitched for the state.


Koalas headed for localised extinction at planned NSW Shenhua coalmine

Survey by Shenhua environmental consultant shows decline of 87% in koala numbers since 2012-13, as campaigners plead for impact of bushfires to weigh on mine conditions



LNP move to roll back on water quality laws critical for our Reef

The Liberal National Party Opposition in Queensland has moved to undo water quality laws that will give our Reef a cleaner future says the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).


No plan to limit patrons on Brisbane trains, buses and ferries

Queensland is not planning to limit the amount of passengers using public transport as coronavirus restrictions ease, instead hoping staggered clock-on times reduce the number of people aboard.


How to save as Qld energy prices hit eight-year low [$]

Residents are being urged to negotiate their energy plans after a huge drop in wholesale prices this week.


Activists hoping Marsh may deliver blow to mine by dumping Adani

Activists are pinning their hopes that insurance broker Marsh is about to announce a crucial climate change policy that will hit the Adani mine development in central Queensland.


Marsh can no longer sit on the fence: it must rule out brokering insurance for Adani

John Hewson

Marsh talks the talk when it comes to climate risk, but by working with Adani it is walking us all into a dangerous future


Powering North Queensland: How to swap coal for renewables in LNP heartland

David Leitch

In the short term, the answer for North Queensland might be doing more of the same, but swapping the coal out for renewable energy and redeploying the coal work…


The rise of the Australian smart city

Paul Budde

Moreton Bay is benefiting from adopting smart city infrastructure


South Australia

RSPCA investigating corella deaths north of Adelaide

The RSPCA has confirmed it is investigating the death of more than 50 little corellas, which began falling out of trees in a suburb north of Adelaide this week.


Free Solo star backs SA-Solomon Island solar project [$]

An Adelaide solar panel project to help solve a Pacific island’s energy needs has gained financial backing from the daredevil star of an Oscar-winning documentary.



Tree-spiking incidents uncovered at two Tasmanian sawmills [$]

A Tasmanian sawmiller has told of getting the fright of his life after finding bolt concealed in a sawlog received by Sustainable Timber Tasmania.


Alliance looks to boost domestic hydrogen market

One organisation helping to envision the state’s hydrogen future is the Tasmanian Hydrogen Alliance, with a focus on establishing a domestic consumer market.


Tassie forest leader bags big-ticket plantation contract [$]

A Tasmanian-owned forestry company has beat out tough competition to manage a world-class estate harvesting 400,000T of timber annually.


Western Australia

Fremantle Recycling Centre gets a boost

The City of Fremantle has welcomed a state government grant to establish a Household Hazardous Waste disposal facility at the Fremantle Recycling Centre.



India added 8,800 Mw of coal-based power capacity last year: IEEFA

The thermal power generation sector is facing stress carrying $40-60 billion of potentially non-performing assets, IEEFA said


Sustainable palm oil? How environmental protection and poverty reduction can be reconciled

Palm oil is often associated with tropical deforestation above all else. However, this is only one side of the story, as agricultural scientists show in a new study. The rapid expansion of oil palm has also contributed considerably to economic growth and poverty reduction in local communities, particularly in Asia.


3D-printed system speeds up solar cell testing from hours to minutes

Scientists flag dramatic improvement to next-gen perovskite R&D


In China, quarantine improves air and prevents thousands of premature deaths

A new study led by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health and published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, finds that China’s countrywide ban on traffic mobility from February 10 to March 14, 2020 greatly limited automobile emissions and sharply reduced the country’s often severe air pollution. The improved air quality, in turn, prevented thousands of pollution-related deaths.


From goody-two-shoes to pariah: How coronavirus is changing public transportation

Transit systems are forced to rethink as riders flee.


Families, family policy and the Sustainable Development Goals

UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti

This report explores how the role of families, and family policies from around the world, can contribute to meeting the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Reduce plastic pollution to preserve all marine life

Leslie Solorzano

It is not just a necessity; it is vital to create legislation around plastic production to slow the deterioration of our planet.


Nature Conservation

April 2020 brings the highest rate of forest loss in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest

Commercial deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has increased and activists worry that this carries a higher risk of contagious diseases entering indigenous communities, including the coronavirus.


Applying the ‘lockdown’ approach to nature could help save species — and humanity

There’s a serious campaign underway to lock down huge swathes of the Earth’s surface, to protect species and minimise the risk of another pandemic. Experts say it could also save humanity —but it risks increasing poverty and inequality, too.


The EU is going to plant 3 billion trees by 2030

It’s part of a broad plan to increase biodiversity by protecting 30% of the continent’s land and water.


This year’s forest fire season could be even deadlier

Luciana Téllez Chávez

Countries are using the coronavirus crisis to lift environmental regulations, even as COVID-19 leaves populations more vulnerable to health impacts from fires.



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