Daily Links Nov 21

Never doubt the impact a committed, evidence-based advocate can have. Peter Rawlinson was my Honours supervisor and I attended his memorial service following his tragic and untimely death on a field trip in Indonesia. At the service was a significant proportion of Australia’s environment movement, so many were influenced by him. Congratulations to Steve Meacher and Carolyn Ingvarson on their awards in his memory, he is influencing still. 

Post of the Day

Sending just ONE email less every day could save 1,000 tonnes of CO2 [Sorry!]

Everyone has done it – sending a quick email to say ‘thanks’ or ‘no problem’ to a work colleague. But the millions of unnecessary messages sent every day are pumping thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, researchers say.


On This Day

November 21


Ecological Observance

World Fisheries Day


Climate Change

Activists rally in DC to pressure Biden on climate

Activists from a number of progressive groups on climate change rallied outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington. Among the speakers at the rally was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who proposed the Green New Deal, calling on the federal government to move away from fossil fuels and shrink greenhouse gas emissions across the economy.


Burning fossil fuels helped drive Earth’s most massive extinction

Massive volcanic eruptions ignited oil and coal deposits in Siberia in the events that led to the Permian-Triassic “Great Dying” event.


Why seagrass could be the ocean’s secret weapon against climate change

A vast, mostly invisible ecosystem crucial to our life on Earth is in trouble, but efforts to save the ‘prairies of the sea’ are finally coming into focus.


Wildlife diseases poised to spread northwards as climate changes

As the world’s climate warms, parasite-carried wildlife diseases will move north, with animals in cold far-north and high-altitude regions expected to suffer the most dramatic increases, warns a study to be published on Friday in the journal Science.


Heatwaves caused record deaths as Britain struggled with coronavirus: Study

Heatwaves caused a record 2,556 excess deaths in Britain this summer as the country was struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic, according to a government estimate published on Thursday.


How to better tackle climate change [$]

John Kerry

None of the toughest challenges that we face will be solved overnight or by government action alone. It is not that simple and, moreover, it is not who we are.



PM flags climate change shift on Kyoto carry-over credits

Scott Morrison signals he may reverse one of the most controversial aspects of the Federal Government’s climate change policy: using Kyoto “carry-over” credits to help meet Paris agreement emissions reduction targets.


From energy tsar to solving the world’s biggest problem [$]

The American energy executive says Australia’s energy transition is accelerating, and the Biden administration can shift US energy policy even without controlling the Senate.


Climate brawl ‘risks move to the fringes’ [$]

Labor MP Patrick Gorman will urge progressives against demanding climate policies that would alienate “mainstream Australians” as he warns the debate risks being fought on the political fringes.


Possum and climate defenders win top [conservation award]

A staunch defender of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum whose group won a landmark court case this year and the founder of a powerful Melbourne climate action group are the joint recipients of this year’s Rawlinson Award for conservation.


Solar and wind farms face more production cutbacks in NSW and Victoria

Solar and wind projects in both south -west NSW and north west Victoria face further constraints on their output after the NSW-based transmission company Transgrid warned of a potential voltage collapse in yet another part of the grid that it operates.


Rupert Murdoch tries to weather News Corp’s climate crisis at AGM

Amanda Meade

News Corp executive chairman says ‘we do not deny climate change’.


Revved-up Boris leaves old fossil Oz for dust

Nick O’Malley

The British Prime Minister’s declaration of a greener future puts enormous pressure on Scott Morrison.


Don’t waste the moment, reduce the use of plastic

Atiq Zaman

On average, over 950 tonnes of plastic waste is generated daily in Australia. To put that into perspective, that amount of waste would fill-up around 32,000 wheelie bins every day. Much (around 90 per cent) of this plastic actually doesn’t get recycled. It ends up in our soil, environments, oceans, streams, and even our food chain.


Nation’s political divide is now green v blue [$]

Vikki Campion

Joel Fitzgibbon paid tribute to blue collar heritage by dumping his frontbench position, proving Labor needs to beat the ultimate blue/green divide.


Embracing new car technology [$]

Australian editorial

Boris Johnson’s diktat banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in Britain by 2030 and hybrid vehicles from 2035 would not suit Australia.


Morrison might abandon Kyoto carryover, but Australia will remain friendless without stronger policies

Michael Mazengarb

Morrison may be considering abandoning plans to use a controversial Kyoto surplus to meet his 2030 target, but it won’t be enough to win friends on climate.



Melbourne Airport trains to run through Metro tunnel every 10 minutes

Melbourne’s airport rail line will run through the new Melbourne Metro tunnel, with construction set to start within 14 months.


Renters in Victoria soon won’t have to deal with dodgy heaters and insulation. Now other states must get energy-efficient

Alan Pears

Renters will no longer have to contend with poorly insulated homes and Victoria will move closer towards 7-star home efficiency standards under a A$797 million plan announced this week. It’s purportedly the biggest energy efficiency scheme in any Australian state’s history.


Victoria’s human-focused climate action fills a gap in post-COVID policymaking

Ketan Joshi

It is a relief to see state-based climate plans beginning to solidify into real policy action – plans that actually lower emissions, while putting ‘guard rails’ around the growth…


New South Wales

Murray River irrigator slapped with $131k fine for illegal water take

Country lawyer Brian Vance O’Haire admitted taking water he was not entitled to so he could keep his vines alive, but tried to blame the regulator for his offending.


One Nation’s Latham pushes 249 amendments to stymie NSW energy bill

Mark Latham has described the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Bill 2020 as akin to Soviet-style five-year plans.


UNSW to study hydrogen viability supply chain between Australia and Germany

UNSW will lead a study designed to test the viability of establishing a renewable energy-based hydrogen supply chain between Australia and Germany.


‘Koala war is over’: John Barilaro [$]

NSW Labor has said the Deputy Premier is the real winner of the failed koala protection policy, after Liberal Catherine Cusack was fired on Thursday for crossing the floor.



Queensland coal port to sell off with a value of $1.2 billion

The float of the Dalrymple Bay coal port has finally been revealed with plans to raise $656 million through the issue of stapled securities priced with a yield of 7 per cent.


Popular climb could soon be off limits [$]

Closed for months because of COVID-19, there are fears that Mt Warning in northern NSW – a popular attraction for climbers from around the world – will not re-open to tourists in a move echoing the closure of Uluru.


South Australia

Green v graziers in land use fight [$]

Proposed changes to the laws governing use of SA’s pastoral lands give greater power to graziers at the expense of the environment, conservationists say.



The Forest Practices Authority has raised concerns about the management of former logging coupes now in WHA

Documents revealed through the Right to Information process have exposed concerns about Environment Tasmania’s handling of World Heritage Area restoration but the organisation says it was already cleared by a federal audit.


3 studies to support renewable hydrogen future

The Tasmanian Government is investing $2.6 million in three large-scale renewable hydrogen feasibility studies to boost the state’s renewable energy future.


‘We need to acknowledge these rivers are in danger’ [$]

Conservationist Todd Walsh has spent most of his life trying to protect the habitat of Tasmania’s giant freshwater crayfish. But he reckons there’s still a long way to go – like admitting Tassie’s “clean, green” status isn’t 100 per cent true.


Tasmania’s energy riches will be ‘needed sooner’, says hydro CEO [$]

New Hydro Tasmania CEO Evangelista Albertini says the rapid transition of the power system means the Battery of the Nation project will likely be needed earlier.


Northern Territory

Cause of major Top End blackout revealed [$]

A ‘one-off blunder that occurred while trying to reinstall a piece of equipment likely caused the gas supply to be cut off at the NT’s largest power station, triggering a widespread outage that impacted up to 40,000 homes and businesses in the Top End.


Western Australia

WA heritage authorities did not know traditional owners were bound by mining giants’ gag orders

Federal inquiry hears gag orders effectively prevented Aboriginal people objecting to destruction of heritage sites in Western Australia


Over 60 per cent of stakeholders oppose new WA cultural heritage bill

An analysis of the public submissions to the draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2020 (WA) has found over 60 per cent of submissions are not in support of the Bill.


Perth-based ClearVue begins construction on solar glass greenhouse

ClearVue has begun construction on a “World-First” clear solar glass greenhouse at Murdoch University south of Perth.


Massive green hydrogen project signs network deal with Western Power

Plans for a massive green hydrogen production facility in Western Australia are a step closer to realisation, after the proponents secured an agreement with Western Power to undertake initial studies for new transmission network link.


The failures behind the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves [$]

Mike Seccombe

As a senate inquiry investigates Rio Tinto’s destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves, Senator Pat Dodson says a royal commission into the entire Native Title Act may be necessary as the law ‘has been basically brought into disrepute by the capacity of those who are rich and powerful’.



For sustainable business, ‘planetary boundaries’ define the new rules

How does a business grow and expand, but function in a way that doesn’t overexploit the Earth? A new enterprise is offering an answer to this question.


Google launches new tool to help cities stay cool

Google has unveiled a tool that could help cities keep their residents cool by mapping out where trees are needed most.


Sending just ONE email less every day could save 1,000 tonnes of CO2

Everyone has done it – sending a quick email to say ‘thanks’ or ‘no problem’ to a work colleague. But the millions of unnecessary messages sent every day are pumping thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, researchers say.


Rich world’s drive to electric cars gets us nowhere

Bjorn Lomborg

The electric car industry is elated with an incoming Biden administration because it promises to extend and increase electric car subsidies to fix climate change.


Nature Conservation

Ain’t no mountain high enough? Microplastics found on Mount Everest

Microplastics have been discovered in snow samples taken from 8,440 metres up Mount Everest, and at 18 other sites on the mountain.


‘CSI Amazon’: Epic study looks at what’s killing the rainforest’s trees

A newly published study provides insight into why trees die in the Amazon, and why the rate of tree death may be increasing.


RoboCop sets sail

A new generation of autonomous vessels is looking to catch illegal fishers in the act.


Shrinking world leaves less room for wild creatures

Thanks to climate change and to the human colonization of the natural landscape, the world’s wild creatures have vanishing space in which to roam.


Africa’s pandemic-fueled conservation crisis

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed long-standing weaknesses in how we protect African wilderness and species. But it has also given us an opportunity to vastly improve our approach to these urgent challenges.


China’s Belt and Road mega-plan may devastate the world’s oceans, or help save them

Mischa Turschwell et al

China’s signature foreign policy, the Belt and Road initiative, has garnered much attention and controversy. Many have voiced fears about how the huge infrastructure project might expand China’s military and political influence across the world. But the environmental damage potentially wrought by the project has received scant attention.

Maelor Himbury
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