Daily Links Dec 19

It was wisdom and humility that led King Canute to demonstrate the futility of trying to turn back the waves. The Pentecostal PM has neither and will likely make some announcements “about these matters” and that “my government will be making arrangements, as that’s what working Australians expect governments to do”. Rest assured the announcements won’t be about reducing emissions to reduce climate change impacts.

Post of the Day

Repurposing coal plants with solar and batteries beats decommissioning them

New analysis shows that repurposing coal plants into solar and battery plants can deliver five times more value than decommissioning them.

 

On This Day

December 19

Saint Nicholas Day

 

Climate Change

FIFA urged to highlight global issue at 2023 Women’s World Cup

Retired Socceroo Craig Foster has called on FIFA to use the 2023 Women’s World Cup to highlight a global problem “playing havoc” with sport.

 

Year of living virtually: Covid, climate, and the rocky road to Glasgow

Stephen Minas

The UN climate process is not unique in facing an uncertain 2021. The Glasgow conference, delayed by a year, remains a critical step to achieving Paris goals.

 

Understanding global warming first step to addressing it

Judy Wright

Climate change is the shift in the long-term average, and global warming or global climate change is the significant shift in worldwide temperate average. Let’s all take steps to stop kicking the can down the road in 2021.

 

National

Three years after Tesla big battery, Australia still trying to figure out rules for battery storage

The AEMC seeks feedback on new energy market participant categories, as regulators work to catch up with the surging role of energy storage.

 

‘Zero return’: government savaged over taxpayer grants to open up new gas basin in Australia

Coalition funding for gas exploration in Northern Territory labelled a costly plan ‘for a climate catastrophe’

 

Inland rail visionary slams what his project has become

The original architect of Australia’s Inland Rail project has slammed the Morrison government’s handling of the venture, saying it was now “the most disastrous infrastructure project in the history of Australia”.

 

China battles the world’s biggest coal exporter, and coal is losing

Damien Cave

China has officially blocked coal imports from Australia after months of vague restrictions. For Australia, the world’s largest coal exporter, the decision is a gut punch.

 

Open data shows lightning, not arson, was the likely cause of most Victorian bushfires last summer

Dianne Cook

As last summer’s horrific bushfires raged, so too did debate about what caused them. Despite the prolonged drought and ever worsening climate change, some people sought to blame the fires largely on arson.

 

How Australia and Fiji’s leaders approach climate change [$]

Amber Schultz

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison couldn’t have more different attitudes to climate change.

 

The modelling that helped Morrison win in 2019 was based on ludicrous assumptions

Ketan Joshi

A new report reveals reveals the dodgy assumptions used by the Coalition and Murdoch media to fan fears about renewable and climate action at 2019 federal election.

 

As consumers harness the sun, who is controlling their energy data?

Kaspar Kaarlep

Australia needs a consumer data right for energy users that puts people in control of who has access to their data, and for what purposes they use it.

 

World leaders deserve to know about Australia’s abysmal climate change policy, so I wrote to them

Bob Carr

Australia’s leaders are playing with climate policy, pitching a nationalist and populist message to their base

 

T’is the season to harness the restorative force of fire

Elizabeth Farrelly

Christmas is the season of birth, of new life and of incarnation. But for us, now, it’s also the season of fire.

 

Australia’s third-rate leaders are failing the climate Test

Mark Kenny

It seemed entirely appropriate that the final set-piece of the parliamentary year, the MYEFO (Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook), was discharged just hours before the Test cricket season commenced.

 

Covid-19 saved Morrison, but climate is the real test [$]

Mike Seccombe

Having outperformed the world in containing coronavirus, Australia’s lack of action on climate change will precipitate a much greater crisis.

 

Sliding towards zero [$]

Saturday Paper editorial

The quality that makes Scott Morrison uniquely equipped to lead Australia in 2021 is his preternatural inability to feel shame.

 

Victoria

‘Great relief’: Geelong refinery kept afloat as losses spiral to $100m

Viva Energy intends to keep the struggling Geelong oil refinery open beyond mid-2021 with the help of an emergency federal subsidy, offering hope for hundreds of workers as the plant’s losses climb to nearly $100 million.

 

‘Difficult’ fire season impacted planned burns [$]

The duration and intensity of Victoria’s fire season severely impacted the number of planned burns that were performed.

 

New South Wales

‘It’s becoming a national emergency’: PM urged to act over NSW’s eroding coastlines

The recently-appointed administrator of the NSW Central Coast Council urges the Prime Minister to take action over the state’s eroding coastlines, calling it a “national emergency”.

 

Non-toxic marine algal bloom identified at Jervis Bay

A marine algal bloom has been reported in Jervis Bay and water sampling conducted has identified it as a non-toxic group of Phytoplankton.

 

Activists hail ‘historic win’ as NSW environment court rejects Bylong Valley coalmine

Kepco had appealed against decision to refuse development proposal to extract 120 tonnes of coal over 25 years

 

Worker injured in Liddell power plant failure, triggering shortages

An employee at AGL’s Liddell power station has been seriously injured following an equipment breakdown that also triggered a warning of electricity shortages.

 

Old Hunter Valley coal mine could be turned into big pumped hydro storage plant

Giles Parkinson

An old underground coal mine near Newcastle could be converted into a 600MW pumped hydro storage facility.

 

Queensland

‘They’re the animal Ringo Starr’: Rare cockatoo numbers predicted to halve in 50 years

The “large and majestic” palm cockatoo is known as the “Ringo Starr” of the bird world due to its unique and rhythmic drumming ability. There are only 1,500 birds left in the wild and zoologists say the species is under threat of extinction.

 

Bushfire-ravaged Queensland rainforests given $4m recovery boost

The Lamington, Scenic Rim, Cooloola and Mt Barney rainforests will benefit from the extra federal funding to assist in their rehabilitation.

 

South Australia

Global warming breakthrough: Methane-slashing ‘super seaweed’ cattle feed supplement wins $1m prize

First Nations communities to benefit after CSIRO-developed, seaweed-based supplement, which cuts cattle methane emissions by up to 99.9 per cent, wins the international Food Planet Prize.

 

SA charges ahead on electric car fleets

The government has revealed a statewide charger network in its plan to make taxi, Uber, bus and business fleets all-electric.

 

Tasmania

Government audit of private huts on Overland Track calls for prompt action on greywater systems and structural integrity of deck and tanks

A damning, government audit of the Tasmanian Walking Co’s Overland Track huts records smelly greywater pipes filled with grease and water, dead trees, unlocked rubbish bins, unsecured bags at risk of blowing away and “questionable” and “unprofessional” maintenance practices.

 

Northern Territory

Northern Land Council ‘blindsides’ NT fishers with sudden intertidal permit requirement

Recreational and commercial fishers have learnt via the classifieds section of a newspaper that permits will be required to access Indigenous intertidal waters in 2021.

 

Fracking on Country in the NT [$]

Rick Morton

As a senate inquiry launches a scathing critique of the legislative failures that led to the destruction of the Juukan Gorge caves, traditional owners in the Northern Territory are fighting a fracking project that threatens water sources and sacred sites.

 

Sustainability

Repurposing coal plants with solar and batteries beats decommissioning them

New analysis shows that repurposing coal plants into solar and battery plants can deliver five times more value than decommissioning them.

 

Iran starts new construction at underground nuclear facility amid US tensions

While the purpose of the building remains unclear, any work at Fordo will likely trigger new concern in the waning days of the Trump administration before the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden.

 

Wood burners triple harmful indoor air pollution, study finds

Burners should be sold with health warnings, say scientists who found tiny particles flooding into rooms

 

Resurgent coal ‘won’t fade away quickly’: IEA [$]

A likely recovery in worldwide use of coal in 2021 before a flattening out represents a big risk to the aim of tackling climate change, the International Energy Agency says.

 

Is farming with reclaimed water the solution to a drier future?

In drought-prone California, several farms are demonstrating the benefits of growing food with relatively abundant post-treatment water supplies.

 

Plastic pipes are polluting drinking water systems after wildfires – it’s a risk in urban fires, too

Andrew J. Whelton et al

When wildfires swept through the hills near Santa Cruz, California, in 2020, they released toxic chemicals into the water supplies of at least two communities. One sample found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s drinking water standard.

 

Nature Conservation

Disastrous oil spill in Mauritius partly caused by crew seeking mobile phone signal

The Japanese operator of a bulk carrier said “human error” was to blame for the more than 1,000 tons of oil spilled into the coastal waters.

 

‘They will be back’: How China’s ‘dark’ fleets are plundering the world’s oceans

When a vast fishing armada appeared outside the Galapagos Marine Reserve in South America, the world was again reminded of China’s belligerent approach to fishing on the high seas.

 

Targeted wetland restoration could greatly reduce nitrogen pollution

Wetlands remove nitrate pollution from water effectively. An analysis shows that this effect is constrained in the United States by the distribution of wetlands, and could be increased by targeting wetland restoration to nitrate sources.



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