Daily Links Aug 13

The Pentecostal PM’s pick to advise on post-COVID19 recovery, troglodyte Nev Power, in being asked about the role renewables, says he’s ‘… not recommending a green recovery per se … ‘ and ‘not looking at energy in that context’. Sadly,  Labour energy shadow Coal Fitzgibbon dwells in the same cave.

Post of the Day 

Water management worldwide is failing, it’s time for a new approach 

Jill Robbie et al 

Climate extremes are not going away during the pandemic, testing water management to its limits. We need robust inter-disciplinary solutions from climate and social scientists, engineers and lawyers 

 

On This Day 

Aug 13 

 

Coronavirus Watch 

Confirmed cases: 22,127. Deaths: 352 

 

Climate Change 

Last year was one of three warmest on record, researchers find 

The report, by 528 climate scientists from 61 countries, said only 2015 and 2016 were hotter than 2019, based on records dating to the mid- to late 1800s. 

 

Climate change projected to increase seasonal East African rainfall 

According to new research, seasonal rainfall is expected to rise significantly in East Africa over the next few decades in response to increased greenhouse gases. The study used high-resolution simulations to find that the amount of precipitation during the rainy season known as the ‘short rains’ could double by the end of the century, continuing a trend that has been observed in recent years. 

 

How Joe Biden’s climate plan could be transformative 

Thanks to the rising influence of activists, the former vice president’s plans are finally starting to meet the challenge. 

 

How do you tell if climate laws really work? Start by counting them 

Every country in the world now has some type of climate law. But are these laws having any effect in the fight against climate change? Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science aimed to find out. 

 

Researchers identify human influence as key agent of ocean warming patterns in the future 

Scientists from the Department of Physics at Oxford University have discovered that the influence of circulation changes on shaping ocean warming will diminish in the future. This is despite having been identified and modelled as a key factor over the past 60 years. 

 

‘As the tundra burns, we cannot afford climate silence’: a letter from the Arctic 

Victoria Herrmann 

I study the Arctic. The decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord is reprehensible – but we can’t give up hope 

 

National 

Australia must place climate action at centre of coronavirus recovery, chief UN economist says 

A chief economist for the United Nations has urged Australia to prioritise climate action above pouring money into fossil fuels in its coronavirus recovery. 

 

Joel Fitzgibbon blasted by Mark Butler for backing gas-led Covid recovery plan 

Labor’s climate and energy spokesman says taxpayer underwriting of new gas infrastructure would be ‘longest white elephant in Australian history’ 

 

Mining industry opposes new laws for Aboriginal heritage sites despite Juukan Gorge failures 

Companies including BHP and Rio Tinto say the federal government should not get more involved in the management of Indigenous cultural heritage 

 

Australia needs a national bushfire monitoring agency, fire experts say 

Australia should build a national agency to strengthen the country’s resilience to climate change according to a group of fire researchers. 

 

‘No purpose’ to Coalition’s climate policy after big polluters increase emissions by 1.6m tonnes 

Government under fire after major companies again given green light to lift carbon emissions without penalty 

 

‘A story of hope’: how the Covid downturn could help Australia rebuild from its black summer 

Rebuilding bushfire-ravaged areas during a pandemic has been a huge challenge. One group of survivors is embracing the opportunity to roll out sustainable, fire-proof homes 

 

‘Walking time bombs’: bird lovers call for ban on poisons 

The lethal effect of anti-coagulant rodent poisons on birds of prey like owls and kites is being reviewed by the national pesticides authority. 

 

Australia “back on radar” as global companies switch to wind and solar supplies 

Australian corporate PPA activity for wind and solar projects up 50 per cent in first half of 2020, as Covid-19 slows down activity across the globe. 

 

CSIRO embraces transition to net zero emissions, “without derailing our economy” 

CSIRO to target hydrogen, zero emissions transition in new set of research ‘missions’, while trying not to spook the Morrison government. 

 

Gas export revenue plunges [$] 

Australia’s gas export revenue plunged by more than half in July from a year earlier, as lower prices hit one of the nation’s biggest commodity earners while shipments continued to suffer delays amid a supply glut, consultancy EnergyQuest said. 

 

Backing for gas the way to go, says Labor’s Matt Keogh [$] 

Labor frontbencher Matt Keogh has backed taxpayer support for the expansion of the gas sector as the proposal faces resistance from Labor MPs and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. 

 

Treat yo’self (and the climate) 

Part of the proceeds from a new ice cream will go towards fighting climate change and the fossil fuel industries   

 

Climate change project looks to leverage Australians’ collective economic power 

Activists want companies to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030    

 

This might be the most stupid decision in the city council’s history 

David Washington  

The Adelaide City Council’s decision last night to declare “driver’s month” is counter-productive, runs against all the evidence, and will damage the city’s reputation. 

 

Victoria 

Protecting Djab Wurrung cultural landscape: A long fight worth our while 

Sissy Austin 

Djab Wurrung peoples have been engaged in a sustained act of cultural protection and fight like no other, and one that is grounded in connection and respect for Country, kinship, and community. 

 

New South Wales 

‘Absolutely fantastic’: Third of NSW declared drought-free after regular rain 

More than one third of New South Wales is officially no longer in drought after regular rain this year helps parts of the state’s central west, south coast and Sydney Basin to recover from one of the worst droughts on record. 

 

Western Sydney green hydrogen plant gets accelerated planning tick 

NSW’s first green hydrogen production facility set to commence construction, after being granted an accelerated planning approval from the NSW government. 

 

Mining city Broken Hill to host one of world’s biggest renewable micro-grids 

The iconic mining city of Broken Hill in the far west of New South Wales is set to host one of the world’s largest renewable mini-grids, powered almost entirely by solar, wind and grid scale storage. 

 

Whitehaven wins planning approval for Vickery expansion 

Whitehaven Coal shares closed higher on Wednesday after the NSW Independent Planning Commission ticked off on its plans to build its 10 million tonne a year Vickery coal mine in NSW. 

 

A group of investors is trying to shut down this mining company from the inside 

More than 100 investors in Whitehaven Coal have filed a resolution asking the company to plan its own closure — the first in an ambitious play by an activist shareholder group to push fossil fuel companies to act on climate change. 

 

Sydney’s main water source close to breaking point as other dams spill over 

An expert has warned Warragamba Dam is close to breaking banks and causing widespread flooding chaos, as capacity reached 97.7 per cent following heavy rainfall. 

 

ACT 

Canberra’s single-use plastics ban set to proceed in 2021 

Govt Plastic cutlery and polystyrene cups would be banned from July next year under a revised timeline for the phasing out of single-use plastics in the ACT. 

 

Queensland 

Tourism and conservation groups call for jobs for our Reef in new billboard 

Marine campaigners and tourism leaders have come together to urge the Cairns community to back jobs for our Reef in the Queensland election this October. 

 

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s choice: New Acland mine or no union money 

Queensland’s mining union is threatening to withhold campaign support for the Palaszczuk Labor government at the October election over its failure to approve the stalled New Acland coalmine ­expansion. 

 

South Australia 

Lincoln Gap wind farm looks to double in size, with 252MW stage-three plans 

Nexif Energy seeks approval to more than double the size of its Lincoln Gap wind farm, with the addition of 6MW turbines – biggest proposed for Australia to date. 

 

Mapped: SA’s best bike trails [$] 

Plans are underway to turn SA into Australia’s premier cycling destination. At least five new trails will open to the public over the next year. We’ve discovered 30 of the best trails on offer so far.  

 

Tasmania 

Tasmanian research project to support apple and pear growers 

The future of Australian apple and pear growers will be more sustainable if a new research project from the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture achieves its goals. 

 

Intercity Cycleway’s ‘missing link’ gets a leg up [$] 

New federal funding is proposed to go towards Hobart’s Intercity Cycleway to have its final missing link constructed to connect with Macquarie Point. 

 

Western Australia 

‘Unacceptable failures’: Super funds call Rio Tinto to account over cave blast 

Top investors say the testimony of senior Rio Tinto executives over the destruction of two 46,000-year-old Aboriginal rock shelters in Western Australia’s Pilbara exposes grave operational failures that demand accountability. 

 

Warming climate will change turtle sex, but some like it hotter than others 

It has long been known that warmer weather makes marine turtle eggs produce female turtles, but researchers find that global climate change will not simply lead to all-female populations. 

 

Sustainability 

Five (really) easy ways to cut your carbon emissions 

Some of these are obvious, some might surprise you but almost all of them are pretty simple changes to make in your life. 

 

Nanocrystals from recycled wood waste make carbon-fiber composites tougher 

Researchers have used a natural plant product, called cellulose nanocrystals, to pin and coat carbon nanotubes uniformly onto the carbon-fiber composites. The researchers said their prescribed method is quicker than conventional methods and also allows the designing of carbon-fiber composites from the nanoscale. 

 

NZ High Court backs Greenpeace in fight for charity status 

The decision has been labelled a major victory for environmental advocacy groups 

 

Upcycling plastic waste toward sustainable energy storage 

Simple process transforms PET plastic into a nanomaterial for energy storage 

 

Countries transitioning to zero carbon should look at more than technology cost 

A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to producing cleaner energy based on cost alone could create social inequalities, finds a new study. 

 

What will it take for cities to get rid of natural gas? 

As cities’ old gas infrastructure starts failing (with often deadly consequences), the proposed solution is often repairs. But a transition to a clean economy involves eliminating natural gas, so why not start now? 

 

Venezuela opposition lawmakers open probe of oil spill on Caribbean coast 

Venezuela’s opposition-run congress has opened an investigation into an oil spill that continues to pollute palm-lined beaches along the South American nation’s Caribbean coast, legislator Maria Gabriela Hernandez said on Wednesday. 

 

Should a study on pesticides affect our use of them? 

Recent research, which found a link between pyrethroids and deaths from heart disease, highlights the limitations of epidemiological research. 

 

Forest fires are setting Chernobyl’s radiation free 

Trees now cover most of the exclusion zone, and climate change is making them more likely to burn. 

 

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the arms race isn’t over 

The twin bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 are always moments that warrant a tick on the commemorative calendar. 

 

Energy companies spend billions on fruitless projects 

Ohio’s high-profile bailout of nuclear plants is just one of several questionable schemes between lawmakers and energy companies. 

 

You have to change how you travel and it’s going to suck 

Ben Groundwater  

If you want the travel world to change, then you have to change. It’s clear that we can’t go on as we did before. 

 

No, it isn’t ‘cheating’ to ride an e-bike 

Michael O’Reilly  

Despite their increasingly covert batteries, e-bikes have all the key advantages of a regular treadly when it comes to ease of parking, lowered emissions, reducing congestion and improving health. 

 

Water management worldwide is failing, it’s time for a new approach 

Jill Robbie et al 

Climate extremes are not going away during the pandemic, testing water management to its limits. We need robust inter-disciplinary solutions from climate and social scientists, engineers and lawyers 

 

Nature Conservation 

‘Crystal clear lagoons all covered in black oil’ in wake of bulk carrier hitting Mauritius reef 

Volunteers in Mauritius are dealing with toxic fumes which are making them sick as they try to remove tonnes of crude oil from the island’s formerly crystal-clear waters. 

 

Beluga whales released into world’s first open sea sanctuary 

Two former captive beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, were successfully released into the world’s first open water sea sanctuary for beluga whales in Iceland. 

 

Collaboration is key to rebuilding coral reefs 

The most successful and cost-effective ways to restore coral reefs have been identified by an international group of scientists, after analyzing restoration projects in Latin America. 

 

A Green New Deal needs a 21st-century civilian conservation corps 

From 1933 to 1942, FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps put more than 250,000 jobless young people to work on nature restoration projects all across the country. It was possibly the most popular of all the New Deal programs and a spectacular conservation success — one that a Green New Deal can replicate. 

 

The world’s growing concrete coasts 

New technologies may offer a way to shore up coasts while benefiting biodiversity. 

 

Ecuador races for emergency infrastructure as river’s collapse threatens dam 

San Rafael waterfall’s collapse and subsequent erosion of the Coca River has ruptured three oil pipelines in Cayambe Coca National Park. 

 

The government is looking the other way while Britain’s rivers die before our eyes 

George Monbiot 

Across the UK, once thriving waterways are being wiped out by farming and water companies 

Maelor Himbury

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