Daily Links Sep 17

Re our Pentecostal PM’s post-pandemic gas obsession, home-grown tech entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes reckons as follows: 

– AEMO? More gas generation not needed

– CSIRO? Gas generation = expensive electricity

– Economists? Gas extraction creates very few jobs

– Scientists? Gas incompatible with our Paris goals

– Investors? Gas has bad returns. No $.

From: Maelor Himbury <maelor@melbpc.org.au>
Date: 17 September 2020 at 9:02:10 am AEST
Subject: Daily Links Sep 17

Post of the Day 

The persistence of plastic 

The amount of synthetic microfiber we shed into our waterways has been of great concern over the last few years, and for good reason: Every laundry cycle releases in its wastewater tens of thousands of tiny, near-invisible plastic fibers whose persistence and accumulation can affect aquatic habitats and food systems, and ultimately our own bodies in ways we have yet to discover. 


On This Day 

September 17 


Coronavirus Watch 

Today’s Update 


‘You can’t be held down’: Why a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely in Australia 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison caused a stir when he suggested a COVID-19 vaccine would be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it”. What power does the Government have to make vaccines mandatory? 


Pandemic threatens human capital gains of past decade, new report says 

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens hard-won gains in health and education over the past decade, especially in the poorest countries, a new World Bank Group analysis finds. 


Why a vaccine can provide better immunity than an actual infection 

Maitreyi Shivkumar 

A good vaccine that improves upon natural immunity requires us to first understand our natural immune response to the virus 


Climate Change 

European Commission to push for bigger emission cuts 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced plans to significantly toughen the EU’s emissions-cutting target to at least 55 per cent by 2030. 


Business Roundtable to endorse market-based climate policy 

The impending move throws the lobbying voice of corporate America behind efforts to combat climate change. 


America’s top science journal has had it with Trump 

The editor of Science has abandoned staid academic-speak to take on falsehoods in the White House—decorum be damned. 


Siberia’s permafrost erosion has been worsening for years 

Coastal erosion in the Lena Delta is contributing to the greenhouse effect 


The climate crisis is a national security threat to the US. We already see the effects 

Sherri Goodman and Kate Guy 

National security leaders view climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’ that makes the homeland vulnerable 


The Coalition, koalas and coal 

Independent Australia editorial 

Is Barilaro, Berejiklian or Morrison to blame for the annihilation of Australia’s favourite furry marsupial, the cuddly koala? 



Aussie super funds take strong climate action  

Researchers say superannuation organisations increasingly recognise the threat to investments posed by climate-related risks 


Renewable energy agencies to be allowed to invest in low emissions technology 

Australia’s two renewable energy agencies will be allowed to invest in low emissions technologies under new legislation set to be introduced by the Federal Government. 


How Australia’s meat industry could be part of the climate solution 

It’s the omnivore’s dilemma: is there an environmentally responsible way to continue eating meat? Cattle farmers like Charlie Arnott are working on a fix 


The Green Recovery: can I still eat meat if I care about the environment? – video 

The average Australian eats half a kilogram of meat every week. But meat production has a huge impact on the environment – it’s responsible for almost 10% of Australia’s carbon emissions. So can we still eat meat if we care about the environment? 


Forest products’ “Industry at a glance” 

AFPA has produced a four page “Industry at a glance” document which provides a snapshot of the forest products industry in Australia. 


Coalition to divert renewable energy funding away from wind and solar 

Scott Morrison says solar and wind are commercially viable and do not need subsidies from the $1.43bn funding 


Scott Morrison’s ‘gas-led recovery’: what is it and will it really make energy cheaper? 

With business turning away from fossil fuels, the government plans to step in to fill the void. Why is it so keen on gas? 


Australia can hit net zero emissions by 2050 by investing in gas, oil executive says 

Andrew Liveris, one of the architects of Scott Morrison’s ‘gas-led recovery’, says the country burns ‘far too much coal’ 


Used car prices surge at record rates as public transport shunned 

Australians are driving up used car prices to new highs, taking advantage of cheap petrol prices amid health fears about using public transport. 


Labor to aim for interim carbon target but can’t agree on gas 

Labor will go to the next federal election with an interim target to reduce carbon emissions amid a growing policy tussle over whether to back new gas production and gas-fired power stations. 


Power to change renewable energy rules [$] 

The renewable energy rules governing the country’s key invest­ment agencies will be scrapped and replaced with a drama­tically expanded “low emissions” mandate to fund a wider range of energy sources, which could also extend the life of coal-fired power plants. 


Coronavirus: Private energy plan vows to power up jobs and growth [$] 

The Morrison government will consider a $25bn private sector-led energy infrastructure plan that could underwrite more than one million jobs, reduce energy costs and boost wages — while also fuelling economic growth by up to 2 per cent. 


When investors won’t back gas, why should taxpayers? 

Bruce Robertson  

The federal government’s commitment to build a new gas plant is a high-risk strategy that will lumber taxpayers with a white elephant. 


The party of the free market is killing investment [$] 

Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer  

Morrison’s climate-change-denying government has proved embarrassingly bad at managing the economy. 


Are Cannon-Brookes and Elon Musk about to team up for big battery plans? 

Giles Parkinson 

Remember the “billionaire tweets”  – the rapid exchange of Twitter messages in early 2017 between Australian Mike Cannon-Brookes and Tesla boss Elon Musk, when Cannon-Brookes challenged Musk over his company’s claims that it could help solve South Australia’s grid problems, and build it in less than 100 days. 


The megafires and pandemic expose the lies that frustrate action on climate change 

Tim Flannery  

If there was a moment of true emergency in the fight to preserve our climate, it is now 


Scott Morrison, Labor tied up in knots over energy, emissions target [$] 

Peter van Onselen 

The energy and emissions reduction debate in this country has degenerated into a swirling mix of contradictions. 


Environment Minister Sussan Ley faces a critical test: will she let a mine destroy koala breeding grounds? 

Lachlan G. Howell and Ryan R. Witt 

In the next few weeks, federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley will decide whether to approve a New South Wales quarry expansion that will destroy critical koala breeding grounds. 


Angus Taylor on the ‘gas-fired’ recovery – podcast 

Michelle Grattan 

The Coalition is having yet another go at crafting an energy policy. Faced with the huge economic challenges presented by COVID, the government this week announced its “gas-fired recovery”. 


How might COVID-19 change what Australians want from their homes? 

Wendy Stone et al 

New research released today asked Australians how well current housing met their needs and their ideals, both in the short and longer-term. 



Court hears doubts about Melbourne’s curfew as Victorian Government faces more legal action 

A Victorian cafe owner’s human rights are being violated because of the curfew, the Supreme Court is told. Lawyers for Michelle Loielo, who wants to run for election for the Liberal party, say there is no other example in history where millions of citizens are “arbitrarily detained in their homes”. 


How Latrobe Valley could lead energy revolution [$] 

The Latrobe Valley could be at the forefront of an energy revolution under Scott Morrison’s $1.6bn plan to target emerging energy technologies and move away from handing out subsidies for solar and wind power. 


New South Wales 

NPWS calling for koala spotters 

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is calling for community volunteers to assist with the 8th annual community koala survey program in Bongil Bongil National Park. 


Advice to government contradicts Coalition claim over Liddell coal plant closure 

Taskforce study does not back Scott Morrison’s claim that Liddell coal plant needs urgent replacing with 1,000 megawatts of new dispatchable electricity generation capacity 


Koalas still under threat in NSW despite Berejiklian’s ultimatum to Nationals 

The NSW Liberals now look like koala saviours – but green groups say much more is needed to save the animal from extinction in the state by 2050 


Strong winds and soaring temperatures accompany RFS hazard burning operations 

Temperatures are likely to climb 10 degrees above the monthly average on Thursday, while the Rural Fire Service is confident that strong winds will not delay vital hazard reduction burns across the state. 


Sydney suburbs where koala policy will impact development [$] 

Farmers’ futures could be on the line thanks to what a planning law expert has described as “deficient’’­ maps at the heart of the government’s koala policy and, in some cases, lump them with unwarranted $12,000 tests.  


Southern NSW councils won key koala concessions [$] 

Nine councils in the southern ­region of NSW raised urgent concerns about koala protection policies with the NSW government, citing them as an unnecessary ­impost on the rebuilding process for victims of the summer bushfires. 


Few people Kean on free solar panel offer [$] 

Despite NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean touting that free solar panels for pensioners would help power the state’s electricity grid, very few homeowners have signed up to the plan. 


Meet Jeff McCloy, the ICAC’d former mayor behind the koala war [$] 

Kishor Napier-Raman  

McCloy is just a footnote to the great Koala war, but he is a fascinating character in his own right. 



ACT Election 2020: Liberals pledge to create new cross-city bus services 

The Canberra Liberals have pledged to deliver new cross-city bus services which would halve travel time for some commuters. 


The Liberals won’t commit to Woden light rail, so will the 2016 election come back to haunt them? 

The Canberra Liberals want nothing more than to frame October’s vote around cost-of-living pressures. But they could be risking a repeat of the last election by keeping light rail in play this campaign. 



Running on empty: Passengers stay away from trains despite low coronavirus case numbers in Queensland 

Trains are running empty in South-East Queensland despite low COVID-19 cases, as “socially responsible” commuters turn to cycling and their cars to avoid other people. 


UN calls out Australia over extinction of Great Barrier Reef rodent 

The extinction of Australia’s Bramble Cay melomys has been singled out for criticism in a United Nation’s report on the state of biodiversity across the world. 


Globally endangered green turtles are fighting back from near extinction 

Some 640,000 turtle hatchlings have been thriving in the Great Barrier, and more than 600 turtle mothers have been saved thanks to a recovery project on Raine Island. 90% of the Reef’s entire northern green turtle population comes from Raine Island, a vegetated coral cay approximately 620 kilometres north-west of Cairns. The population was steadily declining due to nests being flooded, eggs drowning and fewer hatchlings surviving the harsh tides. 


Judge irritated as activist who glued himself to bench back in court [$] 

A Brisbane magistrate has expressed her frustration with an Extinction Rebellion activist who earlier this year glued himself to a court table while facing charges for allegedly impersonating an SES officer. 


Australia’s plants and animals have long been used without Indigenous consent. Now Queensland has taken a stand 

David Jefferson 

Many products we use each day contain compounds taken from nature. Aspirin, for example, is derived from willow trees. And nanofibres from spinifex grass in Queensland is added to bitumen to make stronger roads. 


South Australia 

Council backing for GM-free wine region puts squeeze on new minister 

South Australia’s largest council has voted to ban genetically modified crops from its district following a push from McLaren Vale’s wine industry, which says the lifting of a moratorium will cost the region millions. 


Single-use plastic ban is great but we can do even more [$] 

Lainie Anderson 

Old habits might be hard to break but it’s about time we toughen up and get serious about recycling. 



Tasmania’s Legislative Council debates laws to better enable major projects assessment 

The state’s major projects legislation is expected to be altered by a slew of amendments, unnerving the government which has threatened to torpedo its own legislation. 


Peter Gutwein releases draft bushfire mitigation measures bill for consultation 

Tasmania’s bushfire season may be delayed due to heavy rainfall, Premier Peter Gutwein has told State Parliament. 


Independent consultant recommends waste processing centre at Invermay for approval 

Fifty-eight representations against Veolia’s plans to build a waste processing centre at Invermay is unlikely to be enough, with an independent consultant recommending it for approval. 


$3.5B Project Marinus cable a huge responsibility [$] 

Mercury editorial 

Marinus must be not only done well, but it must be properly explained to the people of Tasmania, as the state is once-bitten, twice shy because of Lake Pedder 


Western Australia 

Greens MP who worked in notorious mine diagnosed with asbestosis 

WA Greens MP Robin Chapple thought he was one of the lucky ones to have emerged from the Wittenoom mine with his health intact. But now he has revealed that is not the case. 


Fortescue Metals rejects shareholders’ call for moratorium on desecration of Aboriginal sites 

Mining company owned by Andrew Forrest says paper copies arrived after the ‘applicable cut-off date’ 


Litter bugs rampant in WA’s South West 

Illegal dumping in the South West is under fire — with reports of rusted washing machines, ovens and broken lawnmowers left at dumping hotspots in the region. 


BHP says it doesn’t gag Traditional Owners on heritage [$] 

Mining giant seeks to clarify position on cultural heritage ahead of appearance before parliamentary committee investigating destruction of ancient shelters in the Pilbara by Rio Tinto. 



BP predicts up to 550 gigawatts of new wind and solar each year 

BP’s Energy Outlook predicts renewable energy and a global low-carbon shift to be the dominant features of the future. 


Can mushrooms provide a vegan, green alternative to animal leather? 

An Indonesian startup is just one company making an eco-friendly leather-like material from fungi. Some hope plant-based textiles could make the fashion industry more sustainable. 


Researchers ask: how sustainable is your toothbrush? 

Researchers have examined the sustainability of different models of the most commonly used oral health product – the toothbrush – to ascertain which is best for the planet and associated human health. 


Surface ozone increase threatens global food crops 

Basic food crops for millions of people worldwide are endangered because of surging ground-level ozone concentration. 


The persistence of plastic 

The amount of synthetic microfiber we shed into our waterways has been of great concern over the last few years, and for good reason: Every laundry cycle releases in its wastewater tens of thousands of tiny, near-invisible plastic fibers whose persistence and accumulation can affect aquatic habitats and food systems, and ultimately our own bodies in ways we have yet to discover. 


Researchers discover effective pathway to convert CO2 into ethylene 

The scientists developed nanoscale copper wires with specially shaped surfaces to catalyze a chemical reaction that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while generating ethylene — a valuable chemical simultaneously. 


How a ‘coal-free’ UK has returned to coal [$] 

Terry McCrann  

Back in June, Britain was the poster child for the “coal-free” power generation. But, the brave new UK coal-free future lasted less than a week. 


New Zealand invests in growing its domestic recycling industry to create jobs and dump less rubbish at landfills [$] 

Jeff Seadon 

New Zealand’s government recently put more than NZ$160 million towards developing a domestic recycling sector to create jobs as part of its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Nature Conservation 

Tracking hammerhead sharks reveals conservation targets to protect a nearly endangered species 

They are some of the most iconic and unique-looking creatures in our oceans. While some may think they look a bit “odd,” one thing researchers agree on is that little is known about hammerhead sharks. Thanks to a team of researchers, that’s all changing. 


Can pumping up cold water from deep within the ocean halt coral bleaching? 

New research shows that pulses of cooler deep water reduced heat stress responses in corals 


10,000 ducks storm rice fields to devour snails 

In a long-standing tradition, the release of 10,000 ducks rids rice paddies of pests — such as cherry snails, apple snails and weeds — as well as providing a rich source of nutrients for the water birds. 


Marine animals live where ocean is most breathable, ranges may shrink with climate change 

New research shows that a wide variety of marine animals — from vertebrates to crustaceans to mollusks — already inhabit the maximum range of breathable ocean that their physiology will allow. The findings provide a warning about climate change: Since warmer waters will harbor less oxygen, some stretches of ocean that are breathable today for a given species may not be in the future. 


Colorado’s famous aspens expected to decline due to climate change 

Using computer modeling, researchers simulated how the distribution of quaking aspen, a native tree known for its brilliant yellow and orange foliage in fall and the sound of its trembling leaves, will change amid rising temperatures over the next 100 years. 


Detecting amphibian pathogens in the water to boost frog conservation 

Laura A Brannelly  

An international collaboration of researchers has found that frog diseases can be detected in environmental samples like soil and water 

Maelor Himbury

6 Florence St Niddrie 3042



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