Daily Links Jan 13

When the desire for power trumps the truth, and the media is either silent or complicit, we see where the Republicans are now. In our context, lies in public debate and blatant pork-barrelling to buy votes, allowed to go unexamined by a captive media, is where we see government in Australia. Little wonder the challenging implications of climate change are unaddressed, the trust in government that is needed just isn’t there. 

Post of the Day

We study ocean temperatures. The Earth just broke a heat increase record

John Abraham

Last year the oceans absorbed heat equivalent to seven Hiroshima atomic bombs detonating each second, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

 

On This Day

January 13

 

Climate Change

UK government sued over ‘pie-in-the-sky’ net-zero climate strategy

ClientEarth and Friends of the Earth say strategy fails to include policies needed to ensure emissions cuts

 

The great Siberian thaw

Permafrost contains microbes, mammoths, and twice as much carbon as Earth’s atmosphere. What happens when it starts to melt?

 

An ocean of optimism to trap emissions

The Solid Carbon initiative aims to scrub vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air before pumping it into basalt reservoirs below the ocean floor, where it will transform into rock. 

 

Cuba’s life task: Combatting climate change

Up to 10% of Cuban territory could be submerged by the end of the century, wiping out coastal towns, polluting water supplies, destroying agricultural lands and forcing one million people to relocate. Finding solutions is now essential.

 

The perils of denying science [$]

Gale Sinatra and Barbara K Hofer

A 2021 international study found that 80 per cent of individuals are indeed willing to make changes in how they live and work to help reduce the effects of climate change.

 

Joe Manchin and Big Coal are destroying the planet

Jeff Goodell

The senator from West Virginia is bought and paid for by Big Coal. With his help the dying industry is pulling one final heist — and the entire planet may pay the price

 

We can’t solve the climate crisis with a broken democracy

Mark Hertsgaard

Defusing the climate emergency requires defusing threats to American democracy

 

We study ocean temperatures. The Earth just broke a heat increase record

John Abraham

Last year the oceans absorbed heat equivalent to seven Hiroshima atomic bombs detonating each second, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

 

National

BHP, the ‘Big Australian’, is about to get bigger and more Australian

Twenty years ago, Australia’s most valuable company merged with a British firm to make BHP-Billiton. Now, mega-miner BHP is leaving London and coming home to further dominate our stock market.

 

Could bringing back its love song save one of Australia’s rarest songbirds? – Full Story podcast

The regent honeyeater is an endangered native Australian songbird, with only a few hundred left in the wild. A few years ago scientists noticed something odd – they were mimicking other birds, and unable to sing their own song.

 

They live for a century and clean our rivers – but freshwater mussels are dying in droves

Alan Lymber

Freshwater mussels are dying suddenly and in the thousands, with each mass death event bringing these endangered molluscs closer to extinction. Tragically, these events rarely get noticed.

 

‘Disappointment and disbelief’ after Morrison government vetoes research into student climate activism’

Philippa Collin et al

Between 2019 and early 2021, we developed a research proposal asking for funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC). The project was to investigate the mass student climate action movement and its relationship to democracy.

 

Regent honeyeaters were once kings of flowering gums. Now they’re on the edge of extinction. What happened?

Rob Heinsohn et al

Less than 80 years ago, regent honeyeaters ruled Australia’s flowering gum forests, with huge raucous flocks roaming from Adelaide to Rockhampton.

 

Victoria

Progress at Australia’s first offshore wind farm as Star of the South starts recruiting

Key progress at the 2.2GW Star of the South offshore wind farm, with job vacancies posted for key roles on the ground-breaking project.

 

Waste collection could ‘grind to a halt’ as COVID staff shortages force delays

Rubbish collection has been delayed in some Melbourne municipalities due to COVID-19 staff shortages as the waste industry warns services could grind to a halt if collectors who are deemed close contacts are not allowed to work.

 

New South Wales

Farmers urged to back traditional owners on Liverpool Plains sacred sites

Tony Windsor speaks out as Gomeroi accuse NSW government of refusing to consult on former Shenhua coalmine site

 

Warragamba Dam heritage assessment ‘manifestly inadequate’: archaeologists

Sydney-based archaeologists have written a scathing response to the Aboriginal heritage report for a proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall.

 

A big blue in a small Southern Highlands town over a giant plastics plant

A proposal to build Australia’s largest plastic recycling plant on the fringes of the Southern Highlands township of Moss Vale has prompted a storm of local protest.

 

Waratah flower’s genetics unlocked in ‘jigsaw’ [$]

Scientists have cracked the genetic code of the waratah flower – the floral emblem of NSW – in a world first, unlocking vital information which has major implications for conservation.

 

ACT

Planning for East Lake urban renewal project entering final stages [$]

A years-long bid to redevelop a precinct on Canberra’s southside is entering the final stages of planning, once again, according to an ACT government request for tender.

 

Queensland

Using drones to build homes for koalas 

“We’re generating what we describe as a koala fountain – a strong source population that can spread out along habitat corridors and bolster koala numbers throughout the region.”

 

Queensland gas development could increase national emissions by 60 per cent, report says

A leading climate change scientist says proposed gas development in Queensland could increase national emissions by 60 per cent, but the government says emissions targets “are achievable”.

 

PNG rainforest saved in a deal to pave the way for green cement project

Brisbane company Mayur Resources Limited has been granted a concession over 800,000 ha of Papua New Guinea’s pristine rainforest to create a significant carbon sink.

 

Albanese fails to support mine despite court ruling [$]

Labor refuses to back a mothballed coalmine in southern Queensland despite a court finding in favour of the stalled project.

 

South Australia

South Australia sets smashing new renewables record in final days of 2021

South Australia’s wind and solar supplied an average of just over 100% of local demand every day for a record stretch of almost one week in December.

 

Tasmania

Countrywide Renewable Hydrogen makes appointment for its Tasmanian hydrogen project

Former Hydro Tasmania executive Andrew Catchpole has been appointed to advise Countrywide Renewable Hydrogen on its Tasmanian hydrogen project.

 

Tasmania’s Container Refund Scheme Bill welcomed, but recycling not the only problem

Letters

A scheme that encourages us to reduce litter and waste through recycling and provides funds back to the community has to be a good thing. Recycling, however, is only a tiny part of the answer to our environmental woes.

 

Western Australia

Mining giant hopes electric trains will help halve emissions

Rio Tinto’s plan to trial trains using solar-generated power could pave the way for its entire fleet of 220 diesel locomotives to go electric.

 

Arson squad investigating ‘suspicious’ Meelup bushfire as residents allowed to return home

Local residents are allowed to return home after a fire came dangerously close to private properties in Eagle Bay in WA’s South West. 

 

Christmas Island red crab population rebounds

Christmas Island’s famous red crab population increases with millions of the creatures making a comeback in the past few years.

 

Extinction Rebellion activist has chalk message case thrown out by Perth magistrate

Police prosecutors had argued Rosa Hicks aided and abetted other activists by photographing them applying washable chalk paint

 

Sustainability

Tumble dryers found to be a leading source of microfibre air pollution

Hong Kong scientists design simple filter system to capture the harmful microplastics – but there’s a catch

 

Energy price surge is squeezing Europe’s economy [$]

The financial pain is taking a toll on households, who are more worried about prices than at any time this century, and feel less inclined to splurge.

 

India’s deadly air pollution keeps getting worse not better

India is failing in efforts to improve its toxic air quality, with the number of smog-plagued cities increasing since the launch of a national programme to tackle the issue.

 

Common household cleaner can boost effort to harvest fusion energy on Earth

Path-setting findings demonstrate for the first time a novel regime for confining heat in stellarators. The demonstration could advance the twisty design as a blueprint for future fusion power plants.

 

Rubber material holds key to long-lasting, safer ev batteries

For electric vehicles (EVs) to become mainstream, they need cost-effective, safer, longer-lasting batteries that won’t explode during use or harm the environment. 

 

Meet Mr Trash Wheel – and the other new devices that eat river plastic

From ‘bubble barriers’ to floating drones, a host of new projects aim to stop plastic pollution before it ever reaches the ocean.

 

The energy crisis is a parable for the failures of Tory Britain

Ed Miliband

Families facing crippling price rises want to know why the system is in chaos. It’s because ministers have no coherent plan

 

Cities are made from more than buildings and roads. They are also made by ambiences – how a city makes you feel

Jordan Lacey

How does a city feel? Energetic, unnerving, invigorating, relaxing? This is a key question often asked by designers who consider the ambience of a city.

 

Nature Conservation

Conifer plantation push could threaten red squirrel population, study finds

Research shows planned expansion of conifer woodlands across the UK could have unintended consequences

 

Community project helps Kenya aim for climate goals one mangrove tree at a time

Along Kenya’s southeastern coast, three communities are restoring 460 hectares (1,137 acres) of the Vanga mangrove forest to meet the country’s emission reduction targets, provide a buffer against natural disasters, and support fishing livelihoods.

 

US may have been responsible for almost half of recent past illegal tiger trade

The United States has probably played a major and previously underestimated role in the trafficking of tiger parts, according to a new study. The research points to San Francisco, Dallas, and Atlanta as the main entry hotspots for these illegal products.

 

Predator species help to buffer climate change impacts on biodiversity – new research

Predator species may buffer the negative impacts of climate change by mitigating against the loss of biodiversity, according to new research led by scientists in Trinity College Dublin and Hokkaido University.



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