Daily Links Aug 31

Whether the name ‘pyrocene’ catches on, there’s plenty of examples of fires rampant around the globe. From Siberia’s conflagrations, California’s wildfires and Queensland’s very early start to the 20/21 fire season, we are burning – and presumably not what the Pentecostal PM meant when he said he’d ‘burn’ for us. He and his fellow fossil fools are engaging in geoengineering now with their support for carbon-based fuels. 

Post of the Day 

As wildfires rage, the ‘Pyrocene’ Age is upon us 

Fire scholar Stephen J. Pyne proposes a pyrocentric view of the last 10,000 years — and warns that California’s wildfires herald a very combustible future. 


On This Day 

Aug 31 


Coronavirus Watch 

Confirmed cases: 25,670. Deaths: 611 


Coronavirus update: India breaks global record for highest number of infections in one day 

India records 78,761 new coronavirus infections in a single day, a new world record for a country, as the number of confirmed global cases of the virus tops 25 million. 


Climate Change 

Carbon accounting should be a basic requirement for banks 

There are more than 5,000 banks and 5,000-plus credit unions in the US. While less than 1 per cent are currently reporting the carbon emissions of their loans and investments, this is changing. 


If democracy looks doomed, Extinction Rebellion may have an answer 

John Harris 

At the heart of a new climate emergency bill lies a simple idea to cut through Westminster groupthink: a citizens’ assembly 



Construction and mining industry super fund puts carbon-intensive companies on notice 

Cbus superannuation expands pledge to hit zero emissions by 2050 across its entire portfolio 


Australian Industry Group urges Coalition to spend ‘at least’ $3.3bn on renewable energy over coming decade 

Peak employer body warns Australia faces ‘costly increase in climate-related impacts and risks’ even in best-case scenario 


Australian greenhouse gas emissions fall to lowest level since 1998 under Covid restrictions 

Energy minister Angus Taylor says emissions have reduced as expected but restrictions are unsustainable 


Oil refineries at breaking point as fuel slump drags on 

Australia’s four remaining oil refineries are being pushed to breaking point by a sharp slump in fuel use with operators fearing demand will stay below pre-pandemic levels for the foreseeable future and less air travel is here to stay. 


States and territories to bear cost if Commonwealth hands over environment approval powers 

State and territory governments will be forced to bear the cost of taking on the Commonwealth’s approval powers under national environmental laws, prompting further concerns from conservationists about the draft laws. 


Paint it black: Wind Farm Commissioner Andrew Dyer backs calls for coloured turbines to save birds [$] 

Australia’s Wind Farm Commissioner will push for local trials of a simple strategy to reduce bird deaths from turbines: the painting black of every third blade. 


Anthony Albanese at odds with Fitzgibbon in dismissal of gas in energy market [$] 

The critical role of new gas projects to shore up Australia’s electricity market has been dismissed by Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese — fuelling an energy divide within Labor’s senior ranks. 


This sounds crazy – but we should dump our seasons [$] 

Rex Jory  

Our concept of four seasons per year was set by European pagans millennia ago. On the other side of the world, amid a changing climate, columnist Rex Jory has a different and rather radical idea. 



Boiled water warning lifted for all suburbs after contamination scare 

All of the Melbourne suburbs cautioned to boil their water due to a contamination scare have been given the all-clear, as storm-smashed regions braced for another windy day on Sunday. 


Birds are keeping me sane in lockdown. When this is over, we must do more to protect them 

Suzy Freeman-Greene 

Seeing a wild, swooping kestrel hunt its prey near my Melbourne home was exhilarating. I could taste its freedom 


New South Wales 

WestConnex park’s opening delayed after rain erodes hill built from waste 

A parkland being built on the site of an old contaminated tip in Sydney’s inner west as part of the WestConnex motorway project is almost a year behind schedule after heavy downpours washed away soil from a large hill formed out of waste. 


The 569 trees in the way of plans to revitalise Royal Sydney Golf Club 

Plans to restore Royal Sydney Golf Club to its glory days have pitted the golfing establishment, including Olympic bid supremo Rod McGeoch and the head of the game’s governing body based in Scotland, against locals campaigning to save 569 trees. 


‘Rednecks on power trip’: culture of bullying and conflict in wildlife rescue 

Most wildlife volunteers are hard working and dedicated to animals, yet bullying and conflict is a longstanding problem in wildlife rescue with tensions boiling over amid the stress and trauma of the summer bushfires. 



What’s Father’s Day got to do with climate change? Heaps. 

David Springett 

This Father’s Day, amidst unprecedented disruption, is reminding me how dads take pride in building, fixing and protecting. But as a father in Far North Queensland, dependent on reef tourism for my family business, 2020 hit with challenges so big I had to question how I could do this. 


South Australia 

Clash of industries making waves in Bass Strait [$] 

Two valuable industries are on a collision course over the riches of a vast area of Bass Strait, with high stakes for the nation regardless of which side prevails. 


New nuclear legislation set to provide toxic dumping ground in South Australia 

Noel Wauchope 

The Australian Government is eager to pass legislation which will turn a South Australian property into a radioactive waste dump. 



Small businesses offered $1000 power relief grants, but no obligation to spend it on energy costs 

Small businesses in shopping centres or in buildings with a body corporate will be eligible for $1000 grants to pay power bills from Monday – but the grants don’t have to be spent on energy costs. 


Huon to Derwent Valley Road paved with ‘reckless dereliction’ 

After learning that her family’s ‘forever home’ could be bulldozed to make way for a re-routed and upgraded link between the Huon and Derwent Valleys, via Jefferys Track,  Jenny Cambers-Smith wrote to the General Manager of the Huon Valley Council this week – and she did not pull her punches. 


Mt Heemskirk, Meredith Range wind test licence 

Media release – Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment 

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment has today issued a draft licence to Tasmanian firm West Coast Renewable Energy (WCRE) which would permit the company to undertake wind monitoring on Crown and reserve land on Tasmania’s West Coast. 


Invest in TASDuck now! 

John Powell 

Readers would be aware of the recent announcement by TasWater to decommission the Waratah Reservoir against the wishes of the Waratah community. 


Northern Territory 

1600 MCGs burnt in horror week of fires – but there may be some relief on the way 

One of the Territory’s busiest weeks for firefighters ended with just two structures lost — a demountable in Rum Jungle and a building at Lake Bennett. 


Western Australia 

Jacques seeks to meet Juukan Gorge traditional owners in WA [$] 

Rio Tinto boss emerges from fortnight in hotel quarantine as he chases potentially career-defining meeting with indigenous group hit by blasting of ancient rock shelters. 



The little-known clean energy revolution 

There are about 5,500 mini-grids in operation across 12 countries in Africa and Asia, according to The State of the Global Mini-grids Market Report 2020 published by the international non-governmental organization Sustainable Energy for All and BloombergNEF 


Big oil is in trouble. Its plan: Flood Africa with plastic 

Faced with plunging profits and a climate crisis that threatens fossil fuels, the industry is demanding a trade deal that weakens Kenya’s rules on plastics and on imports of American trash. 


Bayer’s $11 billion Roundup deal faces new concerns from judge 

Bayer AG’s comprehensive settlement of U.S. lawsuits over its Roundup weed killer is in jeopardy after lawyers for some consumers accused the company of reneging on the $11 billion deal and the judge overseeing the litigation questioned its truthfulness. 


Tom Philpott predicts the end of farming as we now it 

The veteran food writer’s new book warns that the current trajectory of farming in California’s Central Valley and the Corn Belt could be setting us up for collapse. 


The plastics industry has exploited fears around COVID-19 

John Hocevar 

We should not be destroying the earth and our communities for momentary convenience. It is time to move toward green and hygienic systems of reuse. 


Nature Conservation 

Rampant destruction of forests ‘will unleash more pandemics’ 

Researchers to tell UN that loss of biodiversity enables rapid spread of new diseases from animals to humans 


What has Trump has done to Alaska? Not as much as he wanted to 

Six major projects to extract resources are in the initial stages, over the protest of Indigenous peoples. But so far, the damage has been mostly symbolic. 


Why do birds sing? Because they’re all on drugs 

The dawn chorus is created by birds chasing their next hit of opioid, according to a US biologist. Which explains why it’s so much like free-form jazz 


As wildfires rage, the ‘Pyrocene’ Age is upon us 

Fire scholar Stephen J. Pyne proposes a pyrocentric view of the last 10,000 years — and warns that California’s wildfires herald a very combustible future. 

Toads, spiders, daddy long legs, even mice: let them all share our homes 

Ros Coward 

Species decline is being reversed in UK forests, highlands and rivers. But rewilding should start in our houses and gardens 


California is on fire. From across the Pacific, Australians watch on and buckle up 

David Bowman and Ross Bradstock 

California’s bushfire disaster is eerily reminiscent of Australia’s Black Summer. We share the same fiery fate, and must learn to adapt. 

Maelor Himbury

6 Florence St Niddrie 3042



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