Daily Links May 7

Wow, Kit Kats to go carbon-neutral by 2025, that’s some climate pledge, if we can believe it. And there’s a big gap between words and deeds, what governments and companies say and what they do. That’s not something we wonder about in Australia, we know our mob in Canberra say not much at all and do considerably less.

Post of the Day

Farewell the utopian city. To cope with climate change we must learn from how nature adapts

Mohammed Makki

The utopian 20th-century model of a modern city – one that has been replicated around the world – is being exposed as unsuitable for adapting to the pace of change in the 21st century.


On This Day

May 7


Climate Change

Guterres renews zero-emissions appeal to avoid falling into climate abyss

All countries should commit to zero carbon emissions by 2050 if the world is to avoid a disastrous 2.4 degree Celsius temperature rise by the end of this century, UN Secretary General António Guterres said on Thursday.


Cut emissions to fight extreme weather wrecking lives, UN report says

Fossil fuels, cattle and rotting waste produce greenhouse gas responsible for 30% of global heating


Adopt carbon tariffs to reduce income of oil-rich states, Europe says

Europe has urged countries such as Australia to support its plan to impose carbon tariffs, arguing the move to phase out fossil fuels will reduce the income of oil-rich authoritarian states and ease geopolitical tensions.


Six innovative funding methods to achieve climate action and equity in US cities

US city budgets are tighter than ever due to COVID-19. The American Rescue Plan Act, recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, will provide some relief in the near term, while the proposed American Jobs Plan offers a tantalizing vision of federal infrastructure investments that could drive local climate action and equity nationwide.


New satellites can mitigate methane’s outsize impact on climate change

MethaneSat and Carbon Mapper could give governments and industry new ways to find methane emissions — and determine the value of stopping them.


How to spot the difference between a real climate policy and greenwashing guff

Damian Carrington

Unless actions by governments and corporations cut emissions in the here and now, a dose of scepticism is in order


Europe’s carbon tariff plan will ‘trigger a race to the top’, but there will be tensions

Frans Timmermans and Josep Borrell

There is no time to lose in transitioning to a world run on clean technology but it will have its risks and obstacles, write two senior European lawmakers.


Climate crisis a rising threat to maternal health in the US

Skye Wheeler

Mother’s Day in the United States is typically associated with spring, and new life. But because of the climate crisis, Mother’s Day also heralds hotter summers with more and longer heat waves, worsening North Atlantic hurricane season, and terrifying wildfires in the months ahead.


The perfect essay on climate change

Don Aitkin

We use the word ‘crusade’ advisedly, since the frenzy over climate resembles the medieval crusades against foreign infidels and home-grown heretics. There is even a children’s climate crusade.



Is your veggie patch safe? Study shows dangerous lead levels in garden soils

About a fifth of vegetable gardens across Australia are likely to produce foods with dangerous lead levels, according to new research.


Morrison government to pledge another $58.6m to ‘gas-fired recovery’ in budget

Energy minister Angus Taylor will confirm the new funding, including up to $32m to support the Golden Beach project in Gippsland


Speed of green energy shift triggers supply alarm [$]

Australia is a leading supplier of key metals required for the transition, but there’s a gap between what world leaders promise and what companies can provide.


Taylor awards $15 million grant to Darwin big battery that will cut gas generation

Taylor promises $15 million to Darwin big battery, which is designed to support more solar and cut gas generation, and more funds for renewable micro-grids.


See fewer people. Take fewer showers

Some people said they started bathing less during the pandemic. As long as no one complains, they say they plan to keep the new habit.


Kicking the gas habit: how gas is harming our health

Climate Council

Decades of aggressive marketing to Australians has led to several misconceptions about gas. The reality is that it is far from clean. Gas is a polluting fossil fuel that is already harming our health, wellbeing and, of course, the climate. With more gas in the mix, this risk of harm only increases.


Australia remains in a climate transition muddle

John Hewson

Anyone looking in on Australia’s response to the climate challenge would be justifiably confused and dismayed. Much worse if they had tuned in to Scott Morrison’s comments to the recent Biden climate summit.


The economic benefit of saving our environment

Sue Arnold

Aside from the moral obligation to protect our endangered flora and fauna, the Government would do well to consider the economic value.

Australia must kick the gas habit, because it is bad for our health

David Shearman

Australia is scrambling to drill hundreds more gas wells, and more are planned. How could this be when the evidence of health impacts is so clear?

The gas war is heating up and it’s only just getting started

Ketan Joshi

“No one is taking your BBQ tongs”. Can the household fossil gas problem be solved without going through the wringer of a political culture war?


Australia isn’t doing enough to address climate change

Cat Woods

As other nations rise to the challenge and intend to meet ambitious targets set by President Joe Biden for 2030, Australia’s prime minister missed his opportunity to show the world that Australia is serious when it comes to combating climate change.



Could Docklands be getting its own Central Park? [$]

Tree-lined boulevards, lush communal public spaces and an aptly named Central Park are at the centre of a master plan for Docklands’ future.


Cutting gas use for heating and cooking is not the way to net zero

Andrew Dillon

Customers should be informed about new energy options and be empowered to adopt them, rather than restricting their choices by simply taking options away.


New South Wales

New South Wales told to go back and try again on Murray-Darling Basin plan submissions

Up to 19 of its 20 of its water plans may be withdrawn as First Nations’ groups criticise state government for inadequate consultation


Labor and crossbenchers thwart NSW government’s flood plain water harvesting laws

The state’s upper house is set to hold an inquiry to ensure the rules are fair and deliver for downstream communities and the environment


NSW transport department refers its own western Sydney environmental offset purchases to ICAC

After Guardian investigation, department launched internal inquiry. Now it has referred matter to watchdog


Dozens of Sydney bus services cut in eastern suburbs transport overhaul

More than 20 bus routes will be cut from Sydney’s eastern suburbs and another 23 “modified” as part of a planned major overhaul of the region’s transport system.



National Capital Authority commits to growing central Canberra’s tree canopy cover [$]

The National Capital Authority will embark on a wide-ranging annual planting program to increase, diversify and rejuvenate trees on national land over the coming decade.



Blown away: Feds veto $370 million NQ wind farm project

The federal government has vetoed a $370 million green energy project in far north Queensland despite its potential to deliver hundreds of jobs and cheaper energy.


‘Devastating’: Qld projects critical to averting energy crisis [$]

Queensland will be critical to saving the southern states, who are facing a devastating shortage of this key energy resource.

Queensland joins Victoria in opposing rooftop solar tax, prefers battery support

Queensland’s state Labor government joins Victoria’s in indicating it won’t back a move to tax solar households for electricity sent to the grid.

Dodgy deals, broken promises: reef outfit shows how the private sector does it  [$]

Bernard Keane

The controversial Great Barrier Reef Foundation hasn’t exactly lived up to the big promises made when the Turnbull government handed it nearly half-a-billion dollars.


South Australia

SA’s first GM crops planted amid bumper harvest

The first genetically modified canola crops are being planted in South Australia following the controversial lifting of a 16-year moratorium.


Controversial Belair National Park soccer pitches ruled out [$]

Plans to replace the Belair golf course with soccer fields will not be allowed to go ahead, the environment minister has declared.



Tamar dredging risks detailed in City of Launceston reports, from zinc and algae, to need for new silt ponds [$]

High levels of zinc in the upper kanamaluka/Tamar’s sediment could cause “considerable environmental risk” during dredging while the release of ammonia and total nitrogen has the potential for algal blooms, a technical report to the City of Launceston has shown.


Beaconsfield owner NQ Minerals gets German listing [$]

The self-styled “green miner” aiming to restart the Beaconsfield Gold Mine is looking to attract German investors.


Northern Territory

NT’s Beetaloo Basin to benefit from $58.6m federal govt gas investment [$]

The importance of the Northern Territory’s gas rich Beetaloo Basin will be further emphasised in the federal budget with $58.6m of measures to further drive Australia’s gas-fired economic recovery.


Santos’ NT gas expansion plans take a step forward with new agreement [$]

Santos is surging ahead with its Territory expansion plans, inking a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Italian multinational oil and gas company that supplies Darwin’s gas, ENI.


Senator praises meeting with Traditional Owners, condemns ongoing heritage threats

For the first time ever a federal parliamentary committee has met with Yanyuwa, Mara, Garrawa and Gudanji Traditional Owners to discuss the expansion of the McArthur River mine, after meeting with Elders at Magazine Hill on Tuesday.


Western Australia

Rio Tinto defends not stripping bonuses from executives who left amid Juukan Gorge outcry

In bid to stem shareholder anger, executive pay will now be partly based on compliance with environmental, social and governance issues



What does chipageddon have to do with climate change?

What do you get when you combine the huge surge in demand for consumer electronics that we’ve seen over the part year, with snowstorms in Texas and a drought in Taiwan? Chipageddon.


Why a worldwide shortage of plastic bags is choking vaccine production

A shortage of plastic bags has emerged as a bottleneck limiting the world’s ability to make enough vaccines.

Most US coal generators can’t compete with wind and solar, US study finds

A new study shows that the vast majority of US coal plants are already more expensive to run than building new solar and wind, and that’s accelerating.


Farewell the utopian city. To cope with climate change we must learn from how nature adapts

Mohammed Makki

The utopian 20th-century model of a modern city – one that has been replicated around the world – is being exposed as unsuitable for adapting to the pace of change in the 21st century.


Nature Conservation

Iraqi sewage, pollutants threaten ancient Mesopotamian marshes

In a country where the state lacks the capacity to guarantee basic services, 70 percent of Iraq’s industrial waste is dumped directly into rivers or the sea, according to data compiled by the United Nations and academics.


Biden’s plan would boost conservation of US lands, waters

The Biden administration on Thursday detailed steps to achieve an ambitious goal to conserve nearly one-third of America’s lands and waters by 2030, relying on voluntary efforts to preserve public, private and tribal areas while also helping tackle climate change and create jobs.



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