Daily Links Dec 1

We’ve been blessed with great science presenters, unfortunately not so many great science receivers. Carl Sagan, creator of the Voyager gold record, presenter of the series ‘Cosmos’ (with music by Vangelis) and author of ‘the pale blue dot’, was one my absolute heroes. He died too young in 1996 but back in the mid-80s was already warning about climate change, nailing the problem as being intergenerational and beyond the ken for short-term responders.

Post of the Day

Coal power plants are killing millions with air pollution and must be closed, research finds

Research finds climate policies alone won’t address health concerns of fossil fuels, with six million deaths from power plant pollution avoidable by 2050.

 

On This Day

December 1

 

Climate Change

Fact check: Is nuclear energy good for the climate?

Supporters of nuclear energy say it can help us wean our economies off polluting fossil fuels. No surprise, it’s a heated issue. But what about the facts? Can nuclear power really help save the climate?

 

Climate change is making one of the world’s strongest currents flow faster

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), the only ocean current that circumnavigates the planet, is speeding up. For the first time, scientists are able to tell that this is happening by taking advantage of a decades-long set of observational records

 

Tropical cyclones in Asia could double in destructive power under a warming climate, according to new research

In a new paper published in Frontiers in Earth Science, researchers investigated how tropical cyclones’ destructive power has changed over the eastern and southeastern regions of Asia between 1979 (hereafter) and 2016. They found that, during the last four decades, there has been a notable increase of tropical cyclone inland impacts over the studied regions.

 

Climate activism has gone digital and disruptive, and it’s finally facing up to racism within movement

To understand the agreement states reached at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow earlier this month, it’s important to explore how climate activism has grown and changed since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

 

Eight worst wildfire weather years on record happened in the last decade

The world’s eight most extreme wildfire weather years on record have occurred in the last decade, according to a new study that suggests extreme weather is being driven by a decrease in atmospheric humidity coupled with rising temperatures.

 

Why we must avoid temperature overshoot

A new international study shows how near-term mitigation can help to prevent an overshoot in global temperatures, thereby reducing climate risks and bringing long-term economic gains.

 

Rain to replace snow in the Arctic as climate heats, study finds

Climate models show switch will happen decades faster than previously thought, with ‘profound’ implications

 

Think climate change is messy? Wait until geoengineering

WIRED sat down with climate scientist Kate Ricke to talk about the allure and potential pitfalls of geoengineering, what makes it so politically perilous, and how scientists can make sense of it — for the good of humanity and the planet.

 

This 1985 video of Carl Sagan warning Congress about climate is just as sobering now

In his trademark simple and elegant style, Carl Sagan presented the causes of climate change, how we know it is happening, and what we can do about it.

 

National

Can the CSIRO beat Dutch corporate giant DSM to get low emissions cattle feed to market?

In the race to commercialise a product that will significantly reduce methane emissions in cattle around the world, CSIRO and its collaborators have developed a product that cuts emissions by 90 per cent.

States running Australia’s renewables race alone, say reports, as feds put up hurdles

Reports highlight critical role played by states and territories in driving renewables uptake, while federal government undermines investor confidence.

New network fees could “kill the viability” of battery and pumped hydro storage

A proposed rewrite of market rules for battery and pumped hydro projects includes controversial network charges that could kill investment in storage.

Australia emissions edge higher in latest quarter as “sluggish” federal policies slammed

Inadequate national policies to cut emissions criticised, as Australia’s emissions bounce higher in first half of year during Covid recovery.

 

Emissions rise 2% in Australia amid increased pollution from electricity and transport

While greenhouse emissions were stable over the year, an uptick in the June quarter shows pollution is not in decline despite Australia’s net zero by 2050 pledge

Women have been visiting this sacred place for thousands of years. But red tape has made access ‘painstaking and humiliating’

Traditional owner groups across Australia say many sacred Aboriginal sites are still at risk of destruction, despite sweeping recommendations made after the inquiry into the Juukan Gorge disaster.

 

Renewables to exceed Labor’s target as electricity prices fall

Renewables are rapidly replacing coal in the energy grid, spurring a drop of 7.7 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions in the past 12 months.

 

Fears government ‘just rolls’ to gas industry without scrutiny of climate concerns

State and federal governments’ unwavering support for gas became more obvious last week through responses to Woodside’s decision to proceed with its $16 billion Scarborough project.

 

Youth fear COVID, climate and inequality

Nearly 70 per cent of young gender diverse Aussies feel they have been unfairly treated in this past year, highlighting an urgent need for support, Mission Australia’s annual youth report has revealed.

 

‘On steroids’: Planitree founder builds on green construction boom

Australian entrepreneurs are focused on sustainable cities – and solutions for the green construction supplies needed to build them.

 

Birdsong is going missing in the bush and on these beaches. Volunteers need climate action and habitat help to bring it back

Scientists are calling on governments worldwide to do more to protect the habitats and food sources of birds, as new research shows a third of Australia’s most threatened birds have become more endangered.

 

Salinity management success continues in Murray-Darling Basin

Keith Pitt

Water managers from across the Murray-Darling Basin have come together today to continue their collective and successful efforts to manage salinity at the third Basin Salinity Forum.

 

Victoria

Compostable cling wrap that breaks down faster than orange peel

When Great Wrap founders Julia and Jordy Kay couldn’t find a compostable cling wrap they were 100 per cent happy with, they decided they’d quit their jobs, start a business and manufacture their own.

 

The suburbs transformed by super rail loop [$]

Cheltenham, Glen Waverley and Box Hill will undergo a jobs and high-rise population boom when Suburban Rail Loop changes how we live.

 

How long Victorians will have to pay tolls on North East Link [$]

Tolling documents reveal how many years the Andrews government will slug motorists to help pay off the $15.8 billion road.

 

New South Wales

Native forest worth more than logs: report

Ending native logging in the Southern and Eden forests of NSW and using them for mountain-biking and carbon farming could be worth more than $60 million to taxpayers, according to economic modelling.

 

Joint statement on treatment of climate protestors by law enforcement

On Monday November 22, Eric (Sergeio) Herbert, 22, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, 6 months no parole, for taking nonviolent direct action as part of the Blockade Australia mobilisation in Muloobinba / Newcastle.

 

Ella the koala was rescued six times in a year. She’s not the only one

Almost 20 NSW wildlife carer groups have written to Premier Dominic Perrottet and Environment Minister Matt Kean asking for stronger koala protection laws.

 

Queensland

How Adani Ports’ offshore business in Australia has landed it in trouble

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), owned by India’s richest person Gautam Adani, is making headlines for the wrong reasons, yet again.

 

Protesters try to block Adani coal shipment

Activists have locked themselves on railway tracks and a train carriage in a bid to stop what they believed was the first shipment of coal from Adani’s controversial central Queensland mine.

 

‘Dice with death’: Adani slams protesters locked to railway

Two people have been arrested, with the mining giant saying activists “seem to be oblivious to the danger”.

 

Evacuations urged in Queensland town of Inglewood with dam overflowing and more rain on the way

Homes in low-lying areas of the border town are being advised waters are rising and more rain is on the way overnight. The nearby Coolmunda Dam is already overflowing.

 

Queensland business set to turn toxic waste into fertiliser

ReNutrients will use new technology to recycle batteries, turning them into fertiliser, in a major environmental win.

 

Australia accused of trying to block Unesco process that could put Great Barrier Reef in danger list

A dozen countries block Morrison government’s ‘highly inappropriate’ push to suspend process for adding sites to world heritage ‘in danger’ list

 

Australia’s answer to Greta Thunberg on a mission to tackle plastics pollution

Teenager Arlian Ecker is known affectionately as Plastic Free Boy, as he campaigns for a plastic free future.

 

South Australia

Solar reaches 110 per cent of South Australia demand as more records tumble

Records continue to tumble in South Australia, with solar reaching 110 pct of local demand, and wind and solar meeting an average 100pct of demand over 93 hours.

 

SA climate deal cancelled in ‘mindless bureaucracy gone mad’

The federal government has cancelled South Australia’s agreement with a global climate alliance under foreign interference laws, in a move branded “incredibly petty”.

 

Minister’s epic spray about Greta Thunberg and ‘crazy leftie activists’ [$]

Environment Minister David Speirs says he enjoys his job but is being worn down by “crazy leftie activists” – and asks how many “SA Greta Thunbergs” anyone could take.

 

Kamikaze cat killers: Baiting native animals to kill a predator [$]

Poison implants have been inserted into bilbies at a large wildlife reserve near Roxby Downs, in a new attempt to wipe out feral cats.

 

Tasmania

Venture Minerals face protests at Tarkine mine & Perth AGM

Media release – Bob Brown Foundation

Simultaneous protests will be held today in Tasmania’s Tarkine rainforests while members of the public will demonstrate outside Venture Minerals AGM in Perth WA.

 

Workers launch pro-salmon farming alliance [$]

A new alliance claiming to represent all salmon industry workers aims to counter criticism from opponents who have already dismissed the new group as “spin” and “astroturfing”.

 

Water restrictions coming despite heavy rainfalls [$]

Water restrictions are on the way for tens of thousands of households and businesses despite above-average rainfalls throughout spring.

 

Western Australia

Open letter urges withdrawal of WA cultural heritage legislation

Academics, religious leaders, artists, cultural heritage experts and lawyers have signed an open letter calling for the legislation to be junked.

 

Cars to give way to turtles on one of Australia’s most famous beaches

Cars are set to be banned from Broome’s Cable Beach during turtle nesting season in a move that could protect 80 per cent of the tiny hatchlings as they try to reach the sea

Solar switch-off: WA becomes second state to reach for rooftop remote control

Western Australia to follow South Australia as second state to enable AEMO to direct residential rooftop solar systems to be switched off remotely.

 

Impending heatwave could turn ‘Australia’s hottest town’ into the hottest place on Earth

With the mercury tipped to soar past 40C and stay there for parts of northern WA, authorities are urging residents to look after themselves and stay fire safe.

 

Woodside to ‘vigorously defend’ second court challenge to $16b Scarborough project

The Conservation Council of WA has launched a second legal action against the Scarborough to Pluto LNG project adding to uncertainty about its construction a week after Woodside approved the $16 billion investment.

 

Walsh to push for conscience vote on Aboriginal heritage [$]

Former Rio Tinto boss Sam Walsh has backed calls to rework proposed heritage laws — saying “white people don’t get” sacred Indigenous sites — and revealed plans to lobby the WA Government for a conscience vote.

 

Sustainability

Nurdles: The worst toxic waste you’ve probably never heard of

Billions of these tiny plastic pellets are floating in the ocean, causing as much damage as oil spills, yet they are still not classified as hazardous.

 

Why women in Senegal are protesting a ban on plastic

Restrictions on single-use bags are expected to disproportionately impact women-owned businesses that sell sachets of clean water on city streets. 

 

Why the energy transition will be so complicated

The degree to which the world depends on oil and gas is not well understood.

 

What if riding the bus was free?

Saying ‘no fares’ could make public transit better and streets safer, while speeding up climate and justice progress. Who’s onboard?

 

Research pushes auto industry closer to clean cars powered by direct ethanol fuel cells

Alternative-energy research is charting a path toward the mass adoption of clean cars powered by direct-ethanol fuel cells.

Coal power plants are killing millions with air pollution and must be closed, research finds

Research finds climate policies alone won’t address health concerns of fossil fuels, with six million deaths from power plant pollution avoidable by 2050.

Filtering microplastics trash from water with acoustic waves #ASA181

 Filtering and removing the microplastics from water is a difficult task, but acoustic waves may provide a solution.

 

You’re doing environmental donations wrong

When it comes time to step up and put their money where their mouths are, it seems lots of people struggle to prioritize the planet and get cash into the hands of organizations that do the most to combat climate change.

 

Amazon, Walmart and the world’s biggest retailers are making port congestion and pollution worse, new report finds

The supply chain is facing major blockages, and container ships are heaping pollution into communities near the congested ports. The biggest offenders are, unsurprisingly, the world’s biggest retailers.

 

Glencore faces call from activist to sell coal assets

The commodities giant is the last of the world’s large miners to retain a presence in thermal coal, a currently lucrative business but one seen by some as harmful to the environment.

 

How to embed sustainability across a business effectively

Kaushik Sridhar 

Success in sustainability and profitability occurs when leaders, strategy, structure, management systems and performance align

 

Nature Conservation

15 things biodiversity protectors are watching out for in 2022

Every year, a group of scientists and conservation practitioners led by William Sutherland, professor of conservation biology at the University of Cambridge, creates and publishes a “horizon scan” of global trends with impacts for biodiversity.

 

With loss of forests, Bali villages find themselves vulnerable to disaster

Bali’s Penyaringan village was hit by flash floods in September, which some have linked to the ongoing loss of its forest.

 

Zombie cicadas, honey fungus and psychedelics: welcome to the wild world of fungi 

The biologist says there’s a lack of research into fungi despite more than 90 per cent of plants dependant on the micro-organisms to help them to extract nutrients.  

 

New holistic framework can assess fisheries’ strengths and potential weaknesses in time of global climate change

A new decision-making framework designed by an international team of fisheries researchers can help fisheries bolster their ability to adapt to a warming world.



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