Daily Links Dec 16

When competing ideologies collide – a commitment to delivering for donors and a commitment to free market is the LNP playing both Arthur and Martha. Just to show how ludicrous things have become, the climate-denying Member for Manila will take time off from his pleasure jaunts to chair the inquiry into the financial services sector withdrawing support for fossil fuels. As Chuckles Henderson might say, “can you bear it?”

Post of the Day

Plastics pose threat to human health, report shows

An authoritative new report, Plastics, EDCs, & Health, from the Endocrine Society and the IPEN (International Pollutants Elimination Network), presents a summary of international research on the health impacts of EDCs and describes the alarming health effects of widespread contamination from EDCs in plastics.


On This Day

December 16


Climate Change

Earth’s ‘air conditioner’ is trapped in a polar heat spike — this is what it looks like

Dramatic and potentially irreversible changes are unfolding right now in the Arctic and the fallout is being felt well beyond the reaches of the north pole.


The most consequential impact of Trump’s climate policies? Wasted time.

We added a lot of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere during the Trump years, but the biggest loss was failing to make forward progress, experts say.


The melting of the Greenland ice sheet could lead to a sea level rise of 18 cm in 2100

A new study, applying the latest climate models, of which the MAR predicts a 60% greater melting of the Greenland ice sheet than previously predicted. Data that will be included in the next IPCC report.


I have hope on the climate crisis. America must lead

Al Gore

The Biden administration will have the opportunity to restore confidence in America and take on the worsening climate crisis.



Coal ban ‘a responsible act’, Australia playing the victim, China says

China defends its alleged ban on Australia coal as both legal and good for Chinese consumers and domestic industries, while accusing Australia of politicising bilateral trade and discriminating against Chinese enterprises.


‘Bad outcome’: Australia to use coal strike to challenge China on emissions

PM Scott Morrison said coal imports from other countries “have 50 per cent higher emissions”.


Drought-breaking rains not enough to boost wetland bird numbers

Waterbird populations across eastern Australia have failed to respond to drought-breaking rains as large dams grabbed the bulk of flows, the latest annual survey has found.


Frydenberg backs probe into banks not lending due to climate risks

The government’s decision to support the inquiry, chaired by climate sceptic George Christensen, has raised eyebrows of several Liberal MPs.


Australians urged to ditch rubbish habits picked up in lockdown

A surge in home-delivered food and online shopping during COVID-19 lockdowns has generated an alarming 20% increase in household rubbish.


Waterfront properties face rising risks of coastal erosion, experts warn

As storms lash the east coast and rising seas swallow iconic beaches at high tide, researchers warn of the costs and impacts to those that live there.


Pandanus trees can help prevent coastal erosion, but a pest is killing them off

Pandanus trees are an iconic sight along Australia’s east coast, but an insect infestation has been destroying them at such a rate some areas have seen an 80 per cent loss.


Joel Fitzgibbon fuels ALP carbon fire [$]

Joel Fitzgibbon will lash out at opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler for claiming it will take Australia 146 years to reach carbon neutrality under the Morrison government’s policies, as the Hunter MP escalates his campaign for Labor to avoid setting medium-term emissions targets while in opposition.


Two-thirds of Australia suffered record fire danger levels ahead of black summer [$]

More than half of the country experienced record fire danger levels last spring in the lead-up to the devastating summer bushfires, research has revealed, as drought, high temperatures and strong winds combined to create horrific conditions.


‘Koalas need trees’: Federal Government accused of wasting time on koala research instead of saving habitat

The Australian Koala Foundation says the Government’s move to conduct a koala census merely delays action on protecting trees, which is the only thing that will save koalas from extinction.


The future of agriculture: why unis must prepare students to secure both our food and our planet

Damien Field

Agriculture will soon be worth A$100 billion a year to Australia. The industry employs more than 250,000 people, stewards 80% of our land area and drives world-class agribusiness and food sectors. In an uncertain employment market, every new agriculture graduate has a choice of six job opportunities.


Coalition’s “do nothing” EV strategy puts Australia in slow lane in electric transition

Giles Parkinson

Australia appears condemned to continue in the slow lane of the global transition to electric vehicles after a leaked copy of the federal government’s “future fuels” discussion paper revealed a “do nothing” strategy and few initiatives to accelerate the uptake of EVs in Australia.


Australia’s waste export ban becomes law, but the crisis is far from over

Jenni Downes et al

Last week, Australia took an important step towards addressing the ongoing effects of the 2018 waste crisis. The federal parliament passed legislation banning the export of unprocessed waste overseas via the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020.


Bad debt ‘time bomb’ ready to explode

Joel Gibson

Energy bills are up between 10 per cent and 30 per cent this year and they are not going to pay themselves.


The Morrison government subsidising dirty fuel amid the climate crisis beggars belief

Bill Hare

Angus Taylor seems to be wilfully ignoring Australia’s huge transport emissions problem


Australia’s path to net zero emissions is massively behind schedule

Greg Jericho

The pandemic makes it look like the government has reduced emissions. But in reality our cuts are nowhere near enough


Pandemic shows Australia can be ambitious and decisive, now turn that will to climate change

Canberra Times editorial

Australia’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in a health and economic sense, has been lauded around the world. For many, it’s a sign of how vital a strong public health system is, or the importance of listening to expert figures in the bureaucracy.


Australia-first research reveals staggering loss of threatened plants over 20 years

Ayesha Tulloch et al

When it comes to threatened species, charismatic animals usually get the most attention. But many of Australia’s plants are also in grave danger of extinction, and in many cases, the problem is getting worse.


Chinese trade war on our coal shapes as an own goal [$]

Australian editorial

As China continues its cat-and-mouse bullying over black-listing Australian coal, the Chinese government has not even had the courtesy to notify Australia about the apparent change of policy.



‘Scary’ grassfire in Melbourne’s west a taste of things to come in Victoria’s fire season

An out-of-control grassfire came within 1 kilometre of Graeme Hall’s property at Mount Cottrell on Monday. The CFA veteran is one of many experts warning grassfires will pose a serious risk in the state this summer.


Zoos Victoria trials ‘guardian dogs’ to help protect endangered bandicoots from foxes

Conservationists hope the presence of Maremma dogs will stop feral foxes from attacking eastern barred bandicoots when they return to the wild


Lake Eildon health warning ahead of peak season

One of Victoria’s most popular summer tourist spots is contaminated with a bacteria that can be harmful to humans, with a warning not to touch the water.


New South Wales

Wild weather on the North Coast threatens sacred Indigenous sites

As severe storms in the northern NSW clobber the coastline, ancient Arakwal midden sites have come under threat of destruction, with Traditional Owners saying they are concerned the sites could be lost.


Voters ‘want a plan for net zero’, say Liberals trying to win back Tony Abbott’s former electorate

Voters in the formerly blue-ribbon Liberal seat of Warringah want a plan for Australia to get to net zero carbon emissions, party figures said on Tuesday while launching a campaign office to help win back the seat at the next election.


AGL to pay $1 million for polluting Hunter Valley creek

AGL will pay more than $1 million for polluting Hunter Valley creek, in what is believed to be the largest penalty ever enforced on a New South Wales power station.



Where do Canberra’s parrots go for the winter?

Over the next few months Canberra’s skies will be inundated with superb parrots, after a successful hatching season, but by early next year they will have disappeared, only to return next October.



Rain douses Fraser Island fires in time for Christmas visitors’ return

With two months of bushfires finally brought under control thanks to some solid rainfall, Fraser Island’s tourism operators are welcoming visitors back with open arms — and enjoying strong bookings.


Australian taxpayers ‘in bed with Adani’ after FOI reveals $3.2 million Future Fund investment

By national science, technology and environment reporter Michael Slezak

The ABC can reveal more than $3 million of Australian taxpayers’ money has been invested in a crucial Adani company building the rail link from the Carmichael coal mine to a port on the Great Barrier Reef.


Will next big storm make it Bribie Islands?

Bribie Island could be one storm away from being torn apart, eventually splitting into five or six separate landforms, experts say.


China’s coal shoulder could cost state $7b [$]

Queensland’s $7 billion coal export market to China is facing its darkest hour as the Prime Minister warns the trading partner against a boycott.


Extinction Rebellion activists spared compo for CBD chaos [$]

Two Extinction Rebellion protesters who shut down Brisbane city traffic for hours won’t have to pay restitution to the fire service.


South Australia

Lobethal Bushland Park shows signs of recovery, a year after being destroyed by the Cudlee Creek bushfires

A heritage-listed park in Lobethal is becoming a symbol of recovery and hope in the wake of the one year anniversary of the Cudlee Creek bushfires.


Our city must serve people who don’t drive cars

Stephen Yarwood

Opposition to separated bike lanes in Adelaide is based on an unscientific and exclusionary mindset, argues former Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood ahead of a council debate tonight on the proposed east/west bikeway.



Taylor’s UNGI may underwrite two state-owned hydro projects in Tasmania

Morrison’s investment in Marinus Link set to unlock investment in new hydro energy plants in Tasmania, as concerns raised about government interventions.


Invasive species expert Matt Sheehan explains why rice grass has invaded the Tamar estuary [$]

If you’ve ever taken a drive along the banks of the Tamar River, you would be struck by two things – that the outlook to the estuary is stunning, and that thick swathes of rice grass overgrow the banks.


Bob Brown arrested at Eastern Tiers forestry protest

Former federal Greens leader Bob Brown has been arrested while protesting logging activity in the Eastern Tiers between Lake Leake and Swansea, confirmed as “important” swift parrot breeding area.


Swift parrot demise ‘complex and varied’ [$]

Logging advocates have labelled the death of Tasmania’s swift parrot as ‘multifaceted’ after three people were arrested, including former Greens leader and conservationist Bob Brown.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison would not confirm who would pay for the billion dollar project

Prime Minister Scott Morrison touched down in Launceston on Tuesday for a quick tour of key parts of the state’s energy market.


Energy and emissions reduction deal with Tasmania

The Morrison and Gutwein governments have signed a State Energy and Emissions Reduction Deal that will create thousands of jobs and deliver secure, reliable and affordable power to the state and the broader National Electricity Market (NEM).


Woodchips or wilderness?

Amy Barwick

Another log truck rumbles down the highway. International vessels registered in Panama, Hong Kong and Antigua load millions of tonnes of woodchips from Burnie and Bell Bay year in, year out.


Northern Territory

[Closing Ranger, protecting Kakadu:] new report raises issues about rehabilitation plan

Plans for cleaning up the site of the Ranger uranium mine, which closes in January – and incorporating it into Australia’s largest national park, Kakadu – are being hampered by an unrealistic five-year rehabilitation time frame, uncertainty over funding and fears about a tailings dam leaking toxic contaminants into the surrounding national park.


Western Australia

WA power prices slashed during the day, doubled during peak in new trial to protect grid

Electricity prices would be slashed by more than two thirds during the middle of the day but almost double during the peak under a trial aimed at encouraging households to soak up excess solar power flooding into Western Australia’s biggest grid.



Can organic farming solve the climate crisis?

With regenerative agriculture gaining traction, the organic industry is positioning itself as leading the way on carbon sequestration. The research is promising—but inconclusive.


Plastics pose threat to human health, report shows

An authoritative new report, Plastics, EDCs, & Health, from the Endocrine Society and the IPEN (International Pollutants Elimination Network), presents a summary of international research on the health impacts of EDCs and describes the alarming health effects of widespread contamination from EDCs in plastics.


Nature Conservation

How researchers hope to preserve and restore ‘biocrust,’ the desert’s protective skin

Biocrust could prevent dust storms and erosion, even slow wildfires, but it’s vulnerable to human activity and, increasingly, climate change.


HotSpots H2O: Wetland restoration in India aims to prevent human-animal conflict

In Assam, a state in northeastern India, authorities at Kaziranga National Park are restoring six wetlands and collecting rainwater to prevent human-animal conflict during the water-scarce winter months.


Federal government to plant two billion trees over 10 years

The Canadian government has announced its plan to plant two billion trees. The $3.16 billion investment will see the two billion trees planted across the country over 10 years.


Trump team hurries to finish environmental rollbacks before Biden takes over

The administration has finalized about a half-dozen rule changes since Election Day.


Yukon wetlands pushed to tipping point by placer mining, First Nation and conservationists say

The Yukon Water Board is asking the public to weigh in as the territory considers legislation to protect remaining undisturbed wetlands from small-scale gold mining in streams and riverbeds.

Maelor Himbury
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