Daily Links Sep 9

“I was told to be silent or never have a job again”.  When it comes time to vote, and in between to write and call to tell our politicians what we think, we depend on the evidence to shape our thinking. Otherwise such issues as the federal government’s energy road map (elsewhere in this list) will be based on guess work and thought bubbles. This is what happens when the scientists whose research generates the evidence are muzzled. 

Post of the Day 

Research reveals shocking detail on how Australia’s environmental scientists are being silenced 

Don Driscoll et al 

Ecologists and conservation experts in government, industry and universities are routinely constrained in communicating scientific evidence on threatened species, mining, logging and other threats to the environment, our new research has found 


On This Day 

Sep 9 


Ecological Observance 

Thung Yai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries Day – Thailand 


Coronavirus Watch 

Confirmed cases: 26,374. Deaths: 770 


Majority of Australians support mandatory face masks, survey reveals 

Two-thirds of Australians think mask use should be mandatory in all public places, even though far fewer outside hotspot states are themselves wearing face coverings. 


How do pandemics usually end? And how will this one finish? 

Just over 100 years ago, a new strain of influenza infected a third of the world’s population. But within just three years, the threat of this deadly flu had all but passed. 


Climate Change 

Why climate change has the potential to cause more pandemics 

Nobel prize winner Peter Doherty has supported calls from senior government advisers for more action to stop the spread of animal-borne diseases. 


Japan blocks green reform of major energy investment treaty 

The Japanese government is blocking reform of a treaty that allows energy companies to sue nation states when climate policies affect their profits. 


Cooperate on climate or ‘we will be doomed’: UN chief 

World powers must pull together and retool their economies for a green future or humanity is “doomed”, UN chief Antonio Guterres has warned. 


Working from home: How climate change activists are adapting to the pandemic 

Bay Area climate activists, organizers and educators have had to move their efforts for the planet — and the people most affected by global warming — online. 


Climate explained: Methane is short-lived in the atmosphere but leaves long-term damage 

Unlike carbon dioxide, which is relatively stable, methane is a live-fast, die-young greenhouse gas. 


Protests: Extinction Rebellion should be looking for allies, not enemies [$] 

Hugo Rifkind 

It was probably unrepresentative. Most things these days seem to be. Still, let’s start with the video that went around a while ago of the passionate and largely white crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters who surrounded diners outside a restaurant in Washington DC and demanded that they all make a Black Power fist. 



Federal government energy roadmap based on guesswork and thought bubbles 

Department officials concede that some of the assumptions underpinning the Morrison government’s technology roadmap are departmental guesswork. 


Australia can be a ‘renewable energy superpower’, Anthony Albanese declares 

Labor leader sidesteps tension in his party around resources to call for embrace of clean energy 


Australian scientists say logging, mining and climate advice is being suppressed 

A third of government and industry-employed ecologists and conservation scientists had work unduly modified, study finds 


Last season’s climate catastrophes cost insurers $5.4b 

A warming climate is increasing the risk of catastrophic bushfires, damaging hailstorms and powerful cyclones, the country’s biggest insurer says. 


IAG finds ‘scary’ evidence of Australia’s changing climate [$] 

Cyclones are shifting further south, hailstorms are becoming more common, and climate models are struggling to keep up with bushfire trends, a new report finds. 


Pioneering tracker drone keeps high eye on endangered animals 

An Australian-made radio-tracking system mounted to an off-the-shelf drone allows scientists to search hundreds of hectares for rare animals such as swift parrots, honeyeaters and banded hare wallabies. 


Bushfires: earlier detection could save billions 

Billions of dollars would be saved if Australia spotted and tackled new bushfires earlier, according to new research published by the Australian National University. 


‘Compassionate conservation’: just because we love invasive animals, doesn’t mean we should protect them 

Kaya Klop-Toker et al 

Compassionate conservationists believe no animal should be killed in the name of conservation. This idea is a death knell for Australia’s native species. 


How to undo Australia’s epic water fail 

Scott Hamilton and Stuart Kells 

The failure of the Murray Darling Basin Plan is linked to poor political decisions but also to poor market design. The allocation mechanism for our most valuable tradable natural resource is now a gambling pit, so what can be done to fix this mess? 


Research reveals shocking detail on how Australia’s environmental scientists are being silenced 

Don Driscoll et al 

Ecologists and conservation experts in government, industry and universities are routinely constrained in communicating scientific evidence on threatened species, mining, logging and other threats to the environment, our new research has found 



Bushfire burning near Ballarat west of Melbourne brought under control 

Rain has boosted firefighting efforts as crews battle a bushfire near Ballarat west of Melbourne believed to be started by a private land burn off. 


New South Wales 

Tetris Energy secures land for proposed solar and battery project in Yass 

Plans to build an 80MW solar and battery farm in south-eastern NSW have gained modest ground after land was secured for the proposed state significant project. 


Green hydrogen breakthrough uses energy from the sun, water from the air 

University of Newcastle team combines solar PV and water harvested from air to produce low-cost green hydrogen, and gears up to test the fuel on Sydney roads. 


Berejiklian stands her ground against Nationals’ demands 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will not agree to the Nationals’ demands for an urgent cabinet meeting to debate koala planning policy. 


Queensland government allows waste levy exemptions worth $400 million 

The waste industry and LNP opposition are calling for more transparency in the waste levy regime as it emerges the value of exemptions outweighs the amount collected. 


Teenagers file Australian-first class action to stop planned coal mine extension 

A class action launched on behalf of young people everywhere seeks an injunction to stop the Australian Government approving an extension to Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine, arguing it will harm young people by exacerbating climate change. 



ACT secures two big batteries for Canberra and record low price for wind 

Canberra is set to become host to two big battery projects, with the ACT government announcing that two companies that will supply additional 200MW of wind power to the national capital at record low prices will also both build big batteries within the ACT. 


Barr Labor government poised to block Fyshwick recycling plant if re-elected 

Plans for a controversial recycling plant in Fyshwick have been dealt a potentially fatal blow, with the Barr government poised to block the project if Labor wins next month’s ACT election. 


Labor promises 90 new electric buses to slash transport emissions 

The Barr government would buy 90 new electric buses over the next four years if re-elected. 



Graph of the Day: Australia’s best performing solar farms in August 

The best performing solar farm in Australia in August belongs to the owner of the country’s most controversial coal project. 


TRC’s proposed thermal treatment of waste a step closer 

The Toowoomba Region’s bold ambition to dispose of waste more efficiently is a step closer following the release of details for an innovative waste treatment trial with a Toowoomba firm. 


Council wants e-scooters in bike lanes to protect pedestrians 

Brisbane City Council wants to take e-scooters off CBD footpaths and allow them to use bike lanes to protect pedestrians from being struck or clipped by the popular devices. 


Palaszczuk’s $500m clean energy buying spree [$] 

Energy experts say the Queensland government risks squeezing out private investors in its desperation to reach its renewable energy target by 2030. 


It’s true, the Greens couldn’t run a chook raffle [$] 

Courier Mail editorial  

Allegations about dodgy raffles are among the latest revelations that expose the Queensland Greens as a truly amateur operation. 


South Australia 

SA heritage protection laws could be a model for others 

The Law Society of South Australia has highlighted the flaws around Australia’s heritage protection laws and has stated that their model could be an effective fit for other states. 



Legislative Council inquiry into finfish farming in Tasmania resumes 

The Marine Farming Planning Review Panel did not have a proper understanding of Macquarie Harbour’s environmental conditions before it approved salmon farming expansion in the water body, one of its member says. 


Abetz caught out in anti-science insinuations 

Liberal Senators continue to attack scientists of integrity in order to support forest industry denials of bushfire risk. 


Clouds gather over Kangaroo Bay development 

Clarence Mayor Doug Chipman denies any secret deals and says their approach to the uncommenced Kangaroo Bay development is ‘good governance’. 


Mining company raises $2.5M to ramp up operation [$] 

A contentious West Coast mine has raised more than enough funds to ramp up the project and begin exploring other sites, while environmentalists put political pressure on the operation. 


CBD’s electric vehicle fast charge station unveiled [$] 

Hobartians driving electric vehicles will soon be able to power-up their cars at a fast-charge station in the heart of the CBD, with plans to roll out more of the facilities in and around Hobart. 


Greens blast ‘green tape’ cutting bill and handling of species [$] 

The Greens have blasted the Morrison government’s ‘green tape’ cutting Streamlining Environmental Approvals bill and a lack of support for Tasmania’s endangered species on National Endangered Species Day. 


Govt-approved wildlife slaughter is Tasmania’s shame 

The Animal Justice Party is concerned about the extent of wildlife killing in Tasmania, and they suggest that there are a lots of ways to improve the situation. 


Western Australia 

Massive Aussie green hydrogen project moves step closer 

Xodus Group will carry out phase one work for the $300 million Arrowsmith Hydrogen Project. 


Bikes on Perth’s peak-hour trains and 2000km of cycle path to make COVID-19 stimulus greener 

Clean State’s plan includes massive increases in bike infrastructure, a locally-built trackless tram network and pivoting WA’s diesel bus manufacturing facility in Malaga into an electric bus maker. 


Proposed penalties for destroying heritage sites ‘insultingly minimal’, Indigenous leaders say 

The new Aboriginal heritage protection bill proposed by the WA Government, in part as a response to the destruction of 46,000-year-old heritage at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara, is criticised by Indigenous leaders for weak penalties and still allowing ministerial permission to destroy heritage. 


Rio Tinto CEO’s fate in balance as board to meet after blasting of Aboriginal site 

Investor pressure increases over mining company’s destruction of two 46,000-year-old caves at Juukan Gorge 


Preventing another Rio Tinto Juukan Gorge disaster 

Robert Wood 

We need a progressive solution to ownership in the Pilbara — one that helps us prevent the loss of sacred sites like Juukan Gorge. 



Cutting air pollution in Europe’s cities would improve health of poor, says watchdog 

European Environment Agency calls for strong action to protect most vulnerable in society 


Big Oil just isn’t as big as it once was 

ExxonMobil’s expulsion from the Dow Jones Industrial Average is just the latest sign that major oil companies aren’t as important to the economy as they used to be. 


Wildfires: Can we adapt to live with them? 

Wildfires linked to climate change are increasing in severity and frequency. Can we live alongside them, or will they force communities to relocate? 


Lightweight green supercapacitors could charge devices in a jiffy 

Researchers have described their novel plant-based energy storage device that could charge even electric cars within a few minutes in the near future. 


Major energy companies lag in green shift 

Global utility companies have been slow to go green, undermining efforts to tackle climate change, according to a new report. 


Cascades with carbon dioxide: Making substances out of CO2 [$] 

Carbon dioxide is not just an undesirable greenhouse gas, it is also an interesting source of raw materials that are valuable and can be recycled sustainably. Researchers have now introduced a novel catalytic process for converting carbon dioxide into valuable chemical intermediates in the form of cyclic carbonates. 


Changing what we eat could offset years of climate-warming emissions 

Plant protein foods — like lentils, beans, and nuts –can provide vital nutrients using a small fraction of the land required to produce meat and dairy. By shifting to these foods, much of the remaining land could support ecosystems that absorb CO2, according to a new study. 


No gas turns Golden State dark [$] 

Matthew Warren 

California’s rolling summer-time blackouts show why a renewables-based grid needs gas-fired power to keep the lights – and aircon – on. 


Nature Conservation 

Shorter lifespan of faster-growing trees will add to climate crisis, study finds 

Rise in carbon capture as global warming speeds growth of forests would be negated by earlier deaths, say scientists. 


The relative abundance of bumblebees in North America is estimated to have crashed by 97 percent 

Terrible news for bees—and for farmers. 


World misses 2020 biodiversity goals: Leaked UN draft report 

Over the last decade, governments have failed to meet any of the internationally agreed 2020 goals to halt plant and wildlife loss, according to a leaked UN draft report. 


In Kenya, lake water rise endangers livelihoods and wildlife 

Rising water levels in the lakes along the Great Rift Valley have pushed thousands in Kenya from their homes, endangering people’s livelihoods and wildlife in the region. 


Ocean warming has seafloor species headed in the wrong direction 

As the world warms, many species of plant and animal will have to find new – often cooler – places to live. But things are trickier for sedentary marine creatures like snails, worms, and clams. 


A difficult year for forests, fields and meadows 

The warm, dry summer of 2018 has left clear traces in various ecosystems. Researchers have found that if the climate continues to warm up, higher altitudes can also expect negative consequences in the future.