Daily Links Dec 23

Carbon removal and climate restoration as discussed in this article, without CCS and being distinct from geoengineering, are hopeful concepts. Though we are locked in to changes we’d rather not have (latent heat in the ice-pack among them), there is promise in this young thinking.

Post of the Day

It’s electrifying! This is how Earth could be entirely powered by sustainable energy

Can you imagine a world powered by 100% renewable electricity and fuels? It may seem fantasy, but a collaborative team of scientists has just shown this dream is theoretically possible – if we can garner global buy-in. The study explores what changes are needed in our energy mix and consumption patterns if we are to achieve 100% renewability in a way that supports everyone and the myriad of life on our planet.

 

On This Day

December 23

HumanLight – Humanism

 

Climate Change

Pediatrician network puts spotlight on climate change’s effects on children

Pediatricians participating in the all-volunteer initiative told STAT that the impact on children is clear, and will become more serious.

 

What if net-zero isn’t enough? Inside the push to ‘restore’ the climate.

They’re ready to talk about carbon removal. Are you?

 

2020 is virtually tied for hottest year on record

2020 and 2016 are virtually tied for the hottest year on record. That means more powerful hurricanes, more intense wildfires, less ice and longer heat waves.

 

Genetically engineered trees could help fight climate change — here’s how

While there is controversy over genetic engineering, some scientists say it could also help fight climate change by creating trees that grow bigger, faster and would be better at pulling carbon from the atmosphere.

 

Pandemic and forthcoming stimulus funds could bring climate targets in sight — or not

The lockdowns that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced greenhouse gas emissions. However, in the recovery phase, emissions could rise to levels above those projected before the pandemic. It all depends on how the stimulus money that governments inject into their economies is spent. A team of scientists, led by Dr. Yuli Shan and Professor Klaus Hubacek, University of Groningen, has quantified how different recovery scenarios may affect global emissions and climate change.

 

Incoming US EPA chief vows ‘sense of urgency on climate’

Michael Regan has said the agency will work quickly on addressing climate change, water pollution and environmental inequities.

 

China the climate hero in La-La Land [$]

Terry McCrann

On just exactly what planet in which solar system – ours or in a galaxy, far, far away – could China be considered a Climate Change Hero?

 

National

Australian transport emissions back to pre-pandemic levels, report suggests

Covid lockdowns initially saw greenhouse gas emissions from road transport plummet but by September it was back to business as usual

 

Federal resources minister insists inquiry into banks’ decision to abandon thermal coal will go ahead

Committee has delayed decision after some Liberals criticised proposal but Keith Pitt says it should ‘do its job’

 

Coking coal’s decline likely to follow path of thermal coal’s demise

Tim Buckley

It is time for Australia to prepare a transition plan for the global energy system transition. The risks and opportunities are too great to ignore.

 

Chart of the day: Is Australia in the middle of peak coal production?

Ketan Joshi

The debate about the future of Australia’s coal production seems to ignore structural changes already happening.

 

Victoria

Like ‘third-degree burns’: Cause found for ‘horrific’ skin lesions on endangered dolphins

Scientists confirm that extreme rainfall due to climate change is the leading cause of a deadly skin disease responsible for the deaths of the endangered Burrunan dolphin.

 

Bayside City Council certified carbon neutral

Bayside City Council has received certification for being carbon neutral for Council’s 2019-20 operations against the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard.

 

Warning to not swim at 36 Victorian beaches from Environment Protection Authority

Victorians are warned to stay away from dozens of popular swimming beaches as heavy rainfall is expected to wash pollution into waterways.

 

New South Wales

NSW green-lights coal mine despite protests from renowned horse breeders

The proposal is highly contentious among the Upper Hunter community, including intense opposition from horse breeders who believe it will threaten the viability of world-famous stud farms nearby.

 

Cash for koalas: NSW government considers paying farmers to preserve habitat

Farmers would be paid by the NSW Government to preserve koala habitat on their properties under a proposal being formulated by senior ministers.

 

Farmers launch legal challenge against approval of $3.6bn Narrabri gas project

Environmental Defenders Office will argue in court NSW government agency did not properly assess project’s impact on climate change

 

Queensland

Four men charged over illegal campfire that sparked Fraser Island fires

A joint investigation by police and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service results in four men from the Warwick area being charged with unlawfully lighting a fire.

 

Brisbane’s street trees: beautiful one day, destructive the next

More than 450,000 street trees are managed by Brisbane City Council.

Council plants thousands of street trees annually, but in the past financial year alone, they have cost ratepayers more than $1 million in liability payouts.

 

$2.1b Waterfront Brisbane gains council approval, but neighbours aren’t happy

Neighbours of the $2.1 billion Brisbane CBD development have threatened legal action over council’s decision to approve the application.

 

Plan for extra five storeys lands Kangaroo Point development in court

A controversial 15-storey Kangaroo Point development rejected by Brisbane City Council a week ago has gone to court.

 

‘We can’t insure you if you make money from coal’ [$]

Mike O’Connor

A Qld business has been told it can’t be insured if it makes too much money from coal. It’s the latest casualty of virtue signalling.

 

South Australia

Wind farm fined $1 million over national rule breaches before SA’s statewide blackout

The operator of wind turbines in SA’s mid north is fined $1 million for breaking national electricity rules in the three years leading up to the state’s infamous 2016 blackout, which left hundreds of thousands without power.

 

$25m pellet mill to salvage KI’s burned timber

Kangaroo Island’s major timber company wants to build a $25m pellet mill to turn its burnt timber into fuel for use in coal-fired power stations overseas.

 

South Australia to double size of contract with Hornsdale big battery

South Australia to double size of reserve capacity with Tesla big battery at Hornsdale as part of AEMO move to boost grid security.

 

Tasmania

Bob Brown Foundation fights to halt logging in Tasmanian swift parrot habitat

Bob Brown Foundation attempts to halt logging through court action

The Bob Brown Foundation has through the Federal Court attempted to halt more logging activity on coupes where swift parrot habitat has been identified.

 

Community group SOLVE respond to renewable energy plan

Media release – Supporting Our Loongana Valley Environment

The state government’s Renewable Energy Action Plan (TREAP) is a crushing disappointment to our community. Instead of policy that might benefit Tasmanians, the Plan is a marketing document for the finance and investment sector.

 

Northern Territory

Millions at stake in Kakadu conflict [$]

An Aboriginal organisation set up to manage millions of dollars worth of royalties from the Jabiru uranium mine — and that now owns stakes in some of Kakadu’s best tourism assets — has been plunged into turmoil amid a push by managers to wind it up.

 

Sustainability

How much do electric cars reduce emissions? It depends when they are charged

How much can electric cars actually reduce emissions? It depends on when and where you charge.

 

Microplastics revealed in the placentas of unborn babies

Health impact is unknown but scientists say particles may cause long-term damage to foetuses

 

The coronavirus is mutating. What does that mean for us?

Officials in Britain and South Africa claim new variants are more easily transmitted. There’s a lot more to the story, scientists say.

 

‘We are slowly being poisoned.’ How toxic fumes seep into the air you breathe on planes

A Times investigation found that vapors from heated jet engine oil seep into planes with alarming frequency across all airlines, sickening passengers and crew.

 

Scientists suggested a method to improve performance of methanol fuel cells

Fuel cells based on methanol oxidation have a huge potential in the motor and technical industries. To increase their energy performance, scientists suggest using electrodes made of thin palladium-based metallic glass films. A group of researchers from Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), Austria, Turkey, Switzerland, and the UK has developed a new metallic glass for this application.

 

It’s electrifying! This is how Earth could be entirely powered by sustainable energy

Can you imagine a world powered by 100% renewable electricity and fuels? It may seem fantasy, but a collaborative team of scientists has just shown this dream is theoretically possible – if we can garner global buy-in. The study explores what changes are needed in our energy mix and consumption patterns if we are to achieve 100% renewability in a way that supports everyone and the myriad of life on our planet.

 

Climate could pay the price as Europe’s nuclear plants age

Nuclear power capacity able to supply roughly 60 million homes is scheduled to close this decade as utilities struggle to replace northwest Europe’s ageing reactors, raising the risk of higher carbon emissions as fossil fuels plug the gap.

 

Even in a ‘water-rich’ country like New Zealand, some cities could face water shortages this summer

Julia Talbot-Jones et al

Given long-term forecasts for growing urban populations and an increasingly variable climate, local authorities will have to think about how best to encourage people to conserve water.

 

Killjoy to the world: how Christmas season of giving takes its toll

Ross Gittins

Feeling bad about the way the pandemic is disrupting your Christmas arrangements? Cheer up, I have good news – of a sort. Keep reading and I’ll convince you Christmas has become so “problematic” you’re probably better off not bothering this year.

 

Nature Conservation

‘The people have a right to say no’: The tiny Sri Lankan island pushing back against an Australian mining company

An Australian company is planning to mine mineral sands on an island still recovering from decades of war. But locals say they’ve been kept in the dark — and they fear for their island’s fragile ecology.

 

Droughts, viruses and road networks: Trends that will impact our forests

A new UCPH study assembled an array of experts to highlight major trends that will impact the world’s forests, and the people living around them, in the decade ahead. These trends include drought, viral outbreaks and vast infrastructure expansions across the globe. According to the researchers, a global strategy for human-nature interaction must be developed if we intend on ensuring the survival of both.

 

London is “rewilding” and native species are flocking in

The British capital is resurrecting its long lost natural habitats to foster biodiversity.

 

2020: a truly unimaginable year for biodiversity

Max Benato

The Guardian’s biodiversity editor looks back on a year that put the state of the planet on the agenda in ways no one could have foreseen



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