Daily Links Dec 17

We were warned … 108 years ago.

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Post of the Day

All politics is local, including climate politics

The idea that climate change is a “collective action problem” has held back international negotiations for years, researchers say.


On This Day

December 17

Saint Lazarus Day – Cuba


Climate Change

All politics is local, including climate politics

The idea that climate change is a “collective action problem” has held back international negotiations for years, researchers say.


The Paris agreement five years on: Is it strong enough to avert climate catastrophe?

With Trump no longer a threat, there is a sense of optimism around what the accord could achieve – but only if countries meet their targets.


2020 was the year climate podcasts went mainstream. Here are our favorites

These five new shows about climate solutions and activists gave us something to feel good about this year.


Balancing climate and development goals

The impact on climate change would only be modest if countries in the process of development were to delay efforts to reduce their carbon emissions until they reach a certain level of economic growth.


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

A new study, headed by researchers from the Universities of Liège and Oslo, 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.


Infrastructure key to balancing climate and economic goals in developing countries

Developing nations have an opportunity to avoid long-term dependence on fossil fuel-burning infrastructure as they move toward economic stability, even if they are slow to cut carbon emissions, say the authors of a new article.


Empowering women could help address climate change

Current and future damages of climate change depend greatly on the ability of affected populations to adapt to changing conditions. According to an international group of researchers, building capacity to adapt to such changes will require eradicating inequalities of many sorts, including gender.


China is scaling up its weather modification programme – here’s why we should be worried

Arwa Mahdawi

Beijing is aiming to control rain and snow across half the country. But it is the reason it wants to do this that is really frightening



Former deputy premier to head revamped Murray-Darling compliance role

Troy Grant’s appointment is part of a $38 million shakeup of policing water rules that merges the role of the Independent Inspector-General once held by Mick Keelty with the basin authority’s Office of Water Compliance.


“We should do whatever Morrison says:” Fitzgibbon calls on Labor to capitulate on climate

Joel Fitzgibbon adds pressure on Mark Butler to be moved shadow climate and energy portfolios, calls on Labor to adopt Morrison’s climate policies.


Australia’s miners have no plan to transition to zero emissions products

None of Australia’s largest resources companies have a plan to transition to producing zero carbon products, a ClimateWorks report has found.


Canavan’s call for a China iron ore levy is an own goal [$]

Over time the shockingly mistimed idea would simply ensure Australia’s market share in China would be slashed.


Coalition accused of wasting 18 months on ‘nothing’ electric vehicle strategy

Critics say ‘incredibly disappointing’ discussion paper contains no proposals to make EVs cheaper and reduces choices for Australian consumers


Transition best way to support fossil fuel workers

New research by the Centre for Future Work, commissioned by industry super fund HESTA, finds that transitioning Australia’s labour market away from fossil fuel jobs would mean most workers leave the industry through retirement—avoiding involuntary layoffs or severe disruption to communities—if governments focus on a planned and fair transition including: a clear, long-term timeline, measures to facilitate inter-industry mobility and voluntary severance as fossil fuels are phased-out, and generous retraining and diversification policies.


Contentious climate risk inquiry to be broadened after pushback from MPs

A contentious probe into banks and insurers black-listing fossil fuel projects could be widened after several Coalition MPs went into damage control over the proposal.


‘Shrill, elitist, out-of-touch and irrational’: Joel Fitzgibbon lets fly at critics

The Labor backbencher said no political party was being honest with the Australian public about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


WWF Australia, Conservation International use AI to track wildlife recovering from Black Summer fires

Australians are being urged to send in sensor camera footage to train artificial intelligence to recognise Australian native animals, in order to track how species are recovering after the bushfires.


What’s that Skip? Study shows kangaroos can ‘talk’ to humans

Kangaroos are smarter than we think, shows a new study.


Bob Carr pens global letter that highlights government’s resistance to climate change

Australian political and business figures are beginning to speak out against Mathias Cormann’s bid to lead the OECD due to his record opposing climate change action.


Left blocks ALP coal support policy [$]

Opposition resources spokesman Ed Husic tried to include a supportive reference to the coal industry in Labor’s draft policy platform but his request was blocked by a senior Left faction figure because it was lodged half a day late.


Out in the cold: Australia’s position on climate change an increasingly lonely place [$]

Georgia Wilkins

Countries, cities and regions have pledged their commitment to net-zero emissions. Scott Morrison continues to drag his feet.


Moderate Liberals — or collaborators in climate crimes? [$]

Bernard Keane

There is no such thing as a Liberal moderate in the federal government when it comes to climate action. There are only collaborators who work hard to achieve denialist goals.


Hypocrisy on steroids: Frydenberg backs witch-hunt on banks that won’t lend to miners [$]

Janine Perrett

MYEFO is obviously not keeping the treasurer busy enough — he’s taken time out to sanction a controversial inquiry led by a climate-denying backbencher.


The Usual Suspects: oil and gas majors star in Australian tax heist

Michael West

Angus Taylor’s rescue package for the oil industry is a testament to governments getting gamed by large corporations. The latest Tax Office transparency data shows oil and gas juggernauts are Australia’s biggest tax cheats, again, yet now they are crying for public subsidies – and getting them – to prop up their oil refineries. Michael West reports on the good and the bad in multinational tax dodging land.


Australia, the climate laggard, could lead the world: over to you, PM

John Hewson

The world is watching Australia. We can seize this opportunity.


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.


Morrison has no choice but to commit to net zero by 2050 [$]

Paul Kelly

Once seen as a radical target, it’s is now entrenched as a middle ground or centrist stance — a place where the PM thrives.


2020 in review: Rorts, fires, a plague and more rorts

Michelle Pini

IA looks back over a year of climate-driven calamities and political scandals.


How the size and shape of dried leaves can turn small flames into colossal bushfires

Jamie Burton et al

The 2020-21 fire season is well underway, and we’ve watched in horror as places like K’gari (Fraser Island) burn uncontrollably, threatening people and their homes and devastating the environment.


Gas cooking is associated with worsening asthma in kids. But proper ventilation helps

Ian Musgrave

“You’re cooking with gas” is a familiar term associated with doing the right thing and doing it well. But is cooking with gas doing the wrong thing for our health?



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


Victorians’ electricity bills to be slashed next year [$]

Hundreds of thousands of Victorians are soon set to have their electricity bills slashed by almost $150 as providers vow to keep cutting prices.


Big spike in people catching bird infection [$]

Victorian health authorities have issued an alert after a spike in humans catching a rare lung infection from wild birds while gardening or mowing the lawn.


New South Wales

Call for energy giant AGL to face criminal charges over coal ash spill

Conservationists allege company has breached its environmental licence 52 times at its NSW Bayswater power station site in the past five years


New land-clearing code for fire mitigation to exclude Sydney councils

The NSW government will exclude Sydney’s councils from new land-clearing rules that would have given residents much greater freedom to cut down trees on their properties.


Coal giant Glencore’s Indigenous appeal lost [$]

Coal giant Glencore has lost an application to secure access to an anthropologist report that it believed could cast doubt on whether the Indigenous objectors to its coal projects belonged to the group they claimed.


NSW pours cold water on Basin choice [$]

The NSW government will formally oppose the appointment of Troy Grant as interim inspector-general of the Murray-Darling Basin’s anti-corruption body, citing a lack of consultation over the decision and concerns that an alternative would have better served negotiation efforts along the river system.



Australian National Botanic Gardens celebrates 50 years

has made an appropriate gift to the Australian National Botanic Gardens to mark the gardens’ golden anniversary. Members of the association presented the first of 50 golden wattle trees to the gardens in Canberra on Wednesday, “the last hurrah” of its 50th birthday.


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. Where they go, and why, remains largely a mystery.



Bluewater community shaken by shooting deaths of brumbies, foal left to starve

Townsville residents are outraged after the slaying of two wild horses, leaving a young brumby to grow weak and dehydrated at its mother’s side for days.


How Brisbane’s ‘missing link’ could stop millions of trucks choking the city to death

The Palaszczuk Government has been urged to decide on the future of one of Queensland’s most contentious proposed infrastructure projects, a freight rail link for the Port of Brisbane.


Firefighters to battle Brisbane recycling facility blaze ‘for next few days’

Firefighters are on scene as the blaze spreads through the rest of the building.


Coral IVF trial offers hope of renewal for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Coral populations from Australia’s first “Coral IVF” trial on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 have not only survived recent bleaching events, but are on track to reproduce and spawn next year.


Federal government offers help to bushfire-damaged Fraser Island

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has offered financial support for Queensland’s World Heritage-listed Fraser Island (K’gari) bushfire site after speaking with her state counterpart, Meaghan Scanlon.


Waste levy’s $410m hole revealed [$]

The Palaszczuk Government’s rubbish tax is set to raise almost half a billion dollars less over the next four years than forecast. This is why.


South Australia

SA Govt promises to prioritise cycling and walking in “low emissions” transport revamp

Walking and cycling infrastructure will be prioritised in road upgrades, while tram, train and bus services will become more efficient, accessible and frequent under a State Government plan to deliver a new “modern, low emissions” transport system to combat climate change.


Adelaide’s east-west bikeway has been delayed

Following a motion from Deputy Lord Mayor Mary Couros, further community consultation will be undertaken before implementing the city’s proposed east-west bikeway. Some councillors are concerned the move will kill off the infrastructure project all together.


Patrick takes nuclear FOI ‘farce’ to court

An SA Senator will ask a court to decide whether his call for information on a nuclear waste facility should have been granted.



Bob Brown re-arrested at swift parrot protest site

Former Greens Leader and Senator Bob Brown was arrested in Tasmania’s northeast highland forests again this morning, twenty-four hours after his first arrest for stopping logging of Swift Parrot habitat.


Labor MHR Brian Mitchell says it could create hundreds of jobs and solve

A world-class plastic replacement plant could be built in Tasmania to create hundreds of jobs and boost manufacturing, says a Labor MP.


‘Don’t sign it’: contractors say too much risk involved in TasWater’s ‘unethical’ contracts

Tasmania’s water utility is set to change how some projects and contracts are managed after local civil contractors raised concerns about unreasonable risk.


Northern Territory

Torres Strait Islanders ‘incredibly nervous’ over $200m Chinese fishery handshake with PNG

Torres Strait Islanders are concerned about what they say is a Chinese plan to “vacuum up fish” on their doorstep and are seeking urgent talks with the Australian Government.


Morrison Govt chips in $50m to speed up Beetaloo development by two years

The federal government is putting $50m on the table to speed up gas exploration and development in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo sub-basin 600km south of Darwin.



There’s never been a better time to mine coal in Siberia [$]

As China blacklists coal shipments from Australia, a bunch of Australian millionaires and billionaires are ramping up their Siberian coking coal play.


In legal first, coroner finds Ella’s death was caused by air pollution

Ella Kissi-Debrah is the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as a cause of death.


Engineers go microbial to store energy, sequester CO2

By borrowing nature’s blueprints for photosynthesis, Cornell University bioengineers have found a way to efficiently absorb and store large-scale, low-cost renewable energy from the sun – while sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide to use later as a biofuel.


Buildings-related CO2 emissions hit record high: UN

Emissions from the operation of buildings hit their highest-ever level in 2019, moving the sector further away from fulfilling its huge potential to slow climate change and contribute significantly to the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to a new UN-backed report.


Urban land and aerosols amplify hazardous weather, steer storms toward cities

Urban landscapes and human-made aerosols have the potential to not only make gusts stronger and hail larger; they can also start storms sooner and even pull them toward cities, according to new research exploring the impact of urban development on hazardous weather.


The UK’s quest for affordable fusion by 2040

For decades, fusion has been the alchemy of our technological age. So, how feasible is the UK’s plan to build a commercially viable fusion power plant by 2040?


In pandemic, people are turning to nature – especially women

One of the first studies on our relationship with nature during COVID finds significant increases in outdoor activity, especially among women.


Mass transit is in jeopardy—and so are cities

Subways and buses are the lifeblood of dense cities like New York. If the system withers, the region becomes a less attractive place to live and work.


Nature Conservation

Kazakhstan plans to bring Aral Sea’s landscape back to life

As environmental issues have long become some of the world’s most pressing challenges, countries across the globe are looking for new solutions.


A Bolivian ‘cloud forest’ reveals a bonanza of new species

An expedition into a steep, remote mountain area unveils discoveries of strange frogs, snakes, and plants—and the return of species thought to be extinct.


A forest in Sumatra disappears for farms and roads. So do its elephants

The 15,300-hectare (37,900-acre) Balai Raja Wildlife Reserve was established in 1986 and designated an elephant reserve in 1992. By 2010, less than 200 hectares of intact forest remained in the reserve.


Monarch butterflies won’t be listed as endangered despite meeting criteria

Monarch butterflies will not come under federal protection because resources are being used for other listings, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced.


A well-rooted study

Spend time in any of the world’s great forests and you’ll start seeing the trees as immense pillars holding the heavens aloft while firmly anchored in the earth. It’s as much fact as sentiment. Trees really do link the ground to the sky by exchanging energy and matter between the soil and the atmosphere.


Madagascar’s endangered lemurs are being killed during pandemic lockdowns

Early data paints a troubling picture for these animals and their habitat.


Success in the Amazon: Reducing deforestation

A unique public-private initiative has reduced deforestation in the Amazon for soy farming, highlighting opportunities for similar efforts across the tropics.


Mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain may not deliver the desired outcomes for nature

England’s proposed mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain requirement for new developments might not deliver on promises to increase biodiversity, according to new research.

Taking fish out of fish feed can make aquaculture a more sustainable food source

Pallab Sarker

Fish farms feed millions of people around the world, but they also consume a lot of fish that are dried or ground up to make aquafeed. Researchers are developing more sustainable alternatives.


America’s last wilderness is about to go to the highest bidder for oil drilling

Kim Heacox

Ten thousand years of undisturbed nature will soon be open to the highest bidder, starting at $25 an acre


Maelor Himbury
6 Florence St Niddrie 3042
0432406862 or 0393741902
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