Daily Links Mar 27

The need is for net-negative emissions rather than net-zero emissions. To start, we simply have to de-carbonise but the fossil fools want us to talk about off-sets so they can keep their business models going.

Post of the Day

Why corporate climate pledges of ‘net-zero’ emissions should trigger a healthy dose of skepticism

Oliver Miltenberger  and Matthew D. Potts

Hundreds of companies, including major emitters like United Airlines, BP and Shell, have pledged to reduce their impact on climate change and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. These plans sound ambitious, but what does it actually take to reach net-zero and, more importantly, will it be enough to slow climate change?


On This Day

March 27

Passover (Pesach) (until Apr 4) – Judaism


Ecological Observance

Earth Hour (8:30 tonight)


Climate Change

Why corporate climate pledges of ‘net-zero’ emissions should trigger a healthy dose of skepticism

Oliver Miltenberger  and Matthew D. Potts

Hundreds of companies, including major emitters like United Airlines, BP and Shell, have pledged to reduce their impact on climate change and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. These plans sound ambitious, but what does it actually take to reach net-zero and, more importantly, will it be enough to slow climate change?



There’s ‘no law against manipulation’ in $2b water markets, but ACCC pushes for change

The watchdog’s major investigation of Murray-Darling Basin water markets concludes they have long outgrown their oversight, regulation and governance settings.


Water trading: it’s time to flush out the cowboys

Australia’s $1.8bn water market is set for a major shake-up after a ­report by the competition regulator blasted previous “band-aid approaches” and recommended a new independent water markets agency to oversee trading in the Murray-Darling Basin.


Morrison government seeks greater powers to direct taxpayer funds into gas pipelines

Reforms to the NAIF, designed to give the Morrison government a greater ability to channel its $5 billion funds into gas infrastructure, pass the lower house.


Taylor requests yet another review of future grid needs, to deal with “intermittents”

The Morrison government instigates yet another inquiry into the energy system, and it has already backed coal and sidelined renewables before it even started.


Why Australia doesn’t need new baseload to replace old coal

As federal parliament prepares to undertake yet another review of Australia’s future energy system needs, experts explain why new baseload is not one of them.


Modelling: How the proposed rooftop solar tax will affect solar households

What would the implementation of a solar tax mean for rooftop solar returns? We look at the AEMC modelling.


Solar tariff reforms to drive smarter power use [$]

Those on the front line of Australia’s booming rooftop solar industry say proposed reforms to solar tariffs will be worthwhile, despite some bumps as solar households get used to changes.


Australian renewable growth is flattening out, and the timing couldn’t be worse

Renewable energy keeps breaking records in Australia. But a new government report shows that the headwinds are coming and the risks are high.


Bowen pitches Labor’s new gas-friendly climate platform, and an end to “toxic politics”

Chris Bowen tells forum in Canberra that Labor is the only one capable of taking Australia to zero net emissions, and sees important role for gas.


Australia’s big four banks drag heels on fossil fuel finance: new report

A new report on the global supply of finance to fossil fuel companies shows Australia’s big four banks are doing terribly.


Greens would demand ’700% renewable energy’ target in any Labor power-sharing deal

Adam Bandt says Labor is “very unlikely” to win a majority government in its own right but could “turf the Liberals out” if it agreed to address climate change and economic inequality.


Wave of disasters sparks fears parts of Australia are becoming uninsurable

Tenterfield residents have been hit by fires and floods and now say they can’t afford insurance. Will this be the new norm as weather events become more frequent and severe?


‘Breach of faith’: Money meant for Indigenous water rights could go elsewhere

Indigenous groups are accusing the government of breaching their faith on a $40 million commitment to recover water rights from voluntary irrigation sellers.


Climate scores a tool for shareholder activists: Nationals

Industry climate vulnerability assessments might be made available as a tool for shareholder activists against the agricultural or mining sectors, Nationals senators have complained.


David Littleproud on getting farmers on board with the climate flight – Australian politics podcast

Katharine Murphy sits down with the Nationals’ deputy leader, David Littleproud, to discuss the party’s stance on reducing carbon emissions. They discuss how communities in regional areas want to see progress in tackling climate change, and whether the party is ready to address the facts or continue its turbulent stance


Murray-Darling Basin water markets inquiry: final report

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) conducted this inquiry in response to a direction by the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, to examine markets for tradeable water rights in the Murray–Darling Basin (the Basin). This report makes recommendations to enhance markets for tradeable water rights, including their operation, transparency, regulation, competitiveness and efficiency.


Solar tax may be outrageous. But is it as bad as it sounds?

Giles Parkinson

Solar households have every right to feel aggrieved about the idea of an export tax. And the issue has divided the solar industry.


Where is proof that rooftop solar is being subsidised by non-solar households?

Bruce Mountain

One of the key arguments used to justify the introduction of a solar export charge is that rooftop solar households are being subsidised by others. But does this stack up?


Climate pressure on finance giants is only just getting started

Clancy Yeates

This week’s flooding disaster is a grim reminder that climate change not only has a devastating physical and social toll, it is also a big deal for the financial system.


Yes, achievements are important. So what has Morrison achieved on climate?

Steph Hodgins-May

When it comes to climate policy, Australia talks big talk. A month out from US President Biden’s global climate summit, the hot air is rising as our Prime Minister pushes for Australia’s climate track record to be vindicated by his international counterparts.


What can go in the compost bin? Some tips to help your garden and keep away the pests

Cheryl Desha et al

Pretty soon, many more Australians are going to be composting their food waste. The Victorian government kicks off its four-bin system from this year, and the federal government is considering a plan to turn kitchen scraps into fertiliser for farmers.



EPA charges man over large chemical stockpile in Victoria

The accused could be fined as much as $34 million over the alleged dumping site at Lemon Springs, near Kaniva.


Stuck on a tram going nowhere? You may have hit one of Melbourne’s worst bottlenecks

The city’s worst public transport bottlenecks have been identified, prompting calls for buses and trams to be given more priority on Melbourne’s roads in a move that would shave thousands of hours off people’s commutes.


Finding Nemo: citizen science discovers new spider

Meet Maratus nemo, the pint-sized peacock spider known for its vibrant colours and dancing displays.


New South Wales

Energy Renaissance, CSIRO join forces on “defence grade” battery management system

Company behind Australian battery giga-factory has joined forces with the CSIRO and IMCRC to develop a home gown, “defence grade” battery management system.


NSW Environment Minister opposes electric car tax backed by Treasurer

Matt Kean wants to encourage electric car users while Dominic Perrottet wants to tax them. It’s a disagreement playing out across the country.


Officials warn of contamination in NSW ocean water ahead of sunny weekend

Sun’s out but stay on the shore – some truly disgusting things could be hiding in the ocean water after the floods.


Floods stir debate among city leaders [$]

Minister for Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said the people of Western Sydney “deserve to have a flood mitigation dam”. He made the remarks the Best of the West conference on Friday.


This week’s floods were ‘nature’s warning’. But the solution creates a potential catastrophe

Michael Slezak and Penny Timms

The Warragamba Dam wall needs to be raised to help prevent the devastating floods seen this week — but there is a cost upstream too.


Forcing gas generation into NSW is a loser policy

David Leitch

The federal government’s attempts to force new gas generation into NSW is a sign of just how badly it’s running energy policy. In truth, there is no real policy.


The mouse plague in NSW

Justine Landis-Hanley

Millions of mice are wreaking havoc across rural NSW. Will the more recent disaster of floods help curb their onslaught, or will the devastation be experienced south in Victoria?



ACT government underspends on infrastructure by $250 million

The ACT government did not spend almost $250 million that had been set aside for construction and infrastructure projects last financial year.


ACT fuels the future with nation’s biggest hydrogen fleet

It has been called the “Great Leap Forward” in future transport energy, and within a few weeks Canberra’s public servants will be active participants in the process.



‘We want to be included’: First Nations demand a say on climate change

Cairns event sees 120 traditional owners and scientists share insights on tackling heatwaves, rising seas and species deaths


Water, water everywhere…except where it counts

Nearly a week of torrential rain has replenished south-east Queensland’s water supply by just three per cent and the region’s largest storage – Wivenhoe Dam – remains a little over one-third full.


How hydro-power project won $800m in public funds but won’t pay any tax

John McCarthy

Genex has confirmed it will not have to pay tax until 2039 as it builds and runs its Kidston pumped hydroelectricity project in north Queensland with a large helping of public funds.


South Australia

Infrastructure SA questions flagship Labor, Liberal election policies

The state’s infrastructure assessment panel has raised red flags on both the Government and Opposition’s major election priorities, confirming it sent a first-draft Liberal plan to bring soccer to the city back to the drawing board – and warning Labor’s hydrogen plan will require further investment totalling “hundreds of millions of dollars”.


Cray poacher cops $10k fine [$]

A professional fisherman has been fined almost $10,000 for a rare act of interfering with a protected species.


New green space for city workers [$]

The $400m redevelopment of the Adelaide Central Market Arcade will include the city’s first elevated expanse of open space


Corellas stare down the barrel after drone, laser efforts fail [$]

Hi-tech solutions have not worked and there is now only one way to stop screeching flocks wreaking havoc in public parks.



Extinction Rebellion stages woodchip protest at Gutwein’s office

Woodchips were piled up in front of Premier Peter Gutwein’s office on Friday morning by Extinction Rebellion, in protest of native forest logging in Tasmania.


Northern Territory

Land clearing changes slash approval times by months

Pastoralists can now apply to clear up to 1000ha of native vegetation per application for non-irrigated purposes under a new simplified pastoral land clearing process


Western Australia

Twiggy Forrest sets sights on making the impossible possible when it comes to ‘pure green energy’

But critics question the continued inclusion of gas in Andrew Forrest’s grand climate ambition



EPA to review attacks on science under Trump

The agency said it would carry out an accounting of political interference in science, an unusually public act that Biden administration officials said was needed to restore trust in the agency’s decisions.


Chilean citizens fight for water rights

Despite its location straddling the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, Chile is facing water scarcity, due in part to climate change-related drought.


The ‘green energy’ that might be ruining the planet

The biomass industry is warming up the South’s economy, but many experts worry it’s doing the same to the climate. Will the Biden Administration embrace it, or cut it loose?


Nature Conservation

Bolivia lake covered by plastic

A large part of Lake Uru-Uru in Bolivia is now covered by trash, much of it plastic and run off from nearby mines.


Svalbard study finds high levels of pharmaceuticals in marine life

Scientists in Svalbard seeking to understand the environmental impact of releasing wastewater directly into the ocean have found surprisingly high levels of pharmaceuticals in crustaceans there.


America’s bald eagle population has quadrupled

There were only about 72,000 bald eagles in the lower 48 states in 2009. Researchers say the population is now above 300,000.


Nearly half the Amazon’s intact forest on Indigenous-held lands: Report

A new report reveals that investing in securing the land rights of Indigenous and tribal communities across Latin America and the Caribbean could cut carbon dioxide emissions at low costs to governments, potentially benefiting the global climate.

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