Daily Links Jan 20

It seems that politics can do what it likes, the change is underway regardless.

Post of the Day

What does 2022 hold in store for climate action?Please Explain podcast

Today on Please Explain, national climate and environment editor Nick O’Malley joins Jess Irvine to discuss the outlook for climate action this year.


On This Day

January 20


Ecological Observance

Penguin Awareness Day


Climate Change

BP, Shell replenish carbon-trading desks after mass departures [$]

As the cost of emissions rise, trading houses have looked to the two energy firms to hire experienced hands in the world of carbon credits and offsets.


Between a rock and hard place [$]

Australian editorial

Unilateral divestment from fossil fuel companies might work for student politics, but BlackRock has shown it is no way to run the world’s largest asset manager.



‘Massive armada’ of bluebottle jellyfish washes up on east coast

Bluebottles are washing up on beaches in big numbers, but if you race to treat your sting with freshwater you might be making it worse.


$66 million to upgrade Basin’s river models to make every drop count

The Liberal and Nationals Government is investing $66 million to provide better information and transparency to help Murray-Darling Basin water managers make timelier, more reliable and transparent water management decisions.


Out of the blue: New carbon credit scheme promises cash for farmers, business

“Blue carbon” is among a range of new options that can earn credits in Australia’s voluntary carbon market.


Australian astronomy’s 10-year plan

The goal of AquaWatch is to establish a comprehensive ground-to-space national water quality monitoring system to safeguard our freshwater and coastal resources.


Blue Grass solar sings after commitment from green finance bank [$]

The $37 million of funding from the federal green bank for the Blue Grass solar farm will help reach stretch targets for low-cost solar.


What does 2022 hold in store for climate action?Please Explain podcast

Today on Please Explain, national climate and environment editor Nick O’Malley joins Jess Irvine to discuss the outlook for climate action this year.


Four ways to stabilise the electricity market

Christina Nikitopoulos et al

The rapid rise of rooftop solar means action must be taken to guarantee the stability of the national grid built around coal-fired power.


Confusion, financial pressure, discomfort: older people can struggle with sustainable living, despite its obvious benefits

Xin Hu

Improving the sustainability of Australia’s housing stock is crucial to meeting national emissions reduction goals. But for older adults, such changes can bring both benefits and challenges.


Leaf oysters: the unsung heroes of estuaries are disappearing, and we know almost nothing about them

Kirsten Benkendorff et al

Camouflaged by a layer of silty mud, most people probably wouldn’t notice the large flat oysters lurking beneath shallow water in Australia’s coastal estuaries. These are remarkable “leaf oysters”, and they can form reefs, produce mauve pearls, and reach the size of a dinner plate.


A mutual suicide pact: Australia’s undeclared nuclear weapons strategy

Michael McKinley

As the world’s nuclear arsenals build even more killing power, the need for Australia to abandon this perilous defence arrangement only increases.



Public transport gets cold shoulder as drivers rent permanent parking, short-term cars

Melburnians are avoiding public transport at even greater levels than last year as workers across the city seek new ways to ensure they can get around by car, including renting permanent parking spaces and using short-term hire vehicles.


Why Victoria’s renewables dream hangs in the balance [$]

A dispute causing delays to a massive renewable energy project in western Victoria could put the dagger into the state’s legislated 2025 green energy target.


Green lawfare to end under Coalition [$]

Anti-logging activists are exploiting a legislative loophole to launch a barrage of court cases that have crippled timber communities.


Plans approved for biggest battery storage system in Victoria

A 240MW/480MWh project proposed by Maoneng for the Mornington Peninsula has been cleared for development by the state government.


New South Wales

From bone dry to a once-in-a-decade flood: Bourke’s phenomenal transformation

Two years ago, boats sat on the dry Darling River in Bourke. Now floodwaters have arrived, bringing hope to the town.


Recycled water connection to save four million litres of water

In a Council initiative, the Beach Hotel, Byron Bay has connected to recycled water for its toilet facilities and garden irrigation, which will save an estimated four million litres a year from the region’s drinking water supply.


Birds flock to breed in north-west NSW wetlands

The biggest wetland bird breeding event in the Macquarie Marshes and Gwydir Wetlands in a decade is well under way ahead of World Wetland Day on 2 February.


Murrumbidgee infrastructure upgrade under fire from environment groups

A $126.48 million federal government grant awarded to Murrumbidgee Irrigation to upgrade infrastructure is a gross misuse of public funds, according to the Nature Conservation Council.



Rain damage to Lake Tuggeranong wetlands prompts move

Last Friday’s heavy rainfall caused Lake Tuggeranong’s floating wetlands to dislodge, prompting program managers to begin plans for changing locations.



Wilkie coal mine revived in ‘vast energy park’ plan

The Wilkie Creek thermal coal mine is coming back to life, almost 10 years after it was shut down by Peabody.


South Australia

Mangrove remediation could cost taxpayers millions, SA senator warns

A South Australian senator says taxpayers could end up footing the bill to fix an environmental disaster caused by hypersalinity at a mangrove site north of Adelaide.


Olympic Dam to ramp up after major smelter works

BHP has completed a $500 million revamp of its Olympic Dam smelter and is starting to ramp up copper processing again after one of the lowest quarters of production since it took over South Australia’s largest mine in 2005.


Extinction Rebellion planning to disrupt Santos Festival of Cycling

Activists will blockade routes on the race in protest against the title sponsor of the Adelaide-based event



Hoons blamed for destroying anti-roadkill system for Tasmanian devils

A program aimed at reducing the number of Tasmanian devils killed on the road has suffered a major setback, with hoons flattening the road markers on which the early warning sensors were to be mounted.


EPA approves Cressy Hatchery upgrade for Petuna

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by Petuna Aquaculture Pty Ltd (‘Petuna’) for a proposed upgrade to the Cressy Hatchery in the Northern Midlands municipality. The proposal was referred to the Board in September 2021.


UPC formally seeks approval for Robbins Island project

Birdlife Tasmania is severely disappointed by UPC Robbins Island’s decision to formally seek approval for its industrial-scale wind farm in north-west Tasmania – a move that conflicts with its major shareholder’s own environmental pledges.


Western Australia

Big banks face climate heat over ‘carbon bomb’ gas plant

NAB, Westpac and ANZ have drawn stinging criticism from environmentalists for helping to fund a private equity group’s stake in the expansion of Woodside’s controversial gas plant in Western Australia.


Karrakatta blaze downgraded as fire crews gain upper hand

Firefighters are getting on top of a bushfire in the City of Nedlands.


Premier urged to reconsider Fitzroy River plans [$]

Kimberley Traditional Owners and organisations are banding together in their fight to protect WA’s largest living river system from becoming another “cultural heritage disaster”.



Renewable hydrogen costs “expected to plummet” by 2030 – here’s how

New BloombergNEF research says 2022 is set to mark an inflection point for global green hydrogen investment – provided governments get on board.


Lockdown drove pollution changes between – even within – cities

For the first time, researchers can infer levels of nitrogen dioxide on scales as small as a square kilometer thanks to a new method developed in the lab of Randall Martin.


Selective membrane may cycle dual-ion batteries closer to reality

Selective membrane may cycle dual-ion batteries closer to reality, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).


COVID’s environmental impact: Positives and negatives

A group of researchers from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University recently published a systematic picture of the pandemic’s effect on the environment – reduced transportation and industrial activities combined with an increase in certain disposables has led to both ups and downs.


Chemical pollution threatens life on Earth. What are the solutions?

Philippa Nuttall

The amount of chemical pollution in the world is dangerous for human health and nature, said scientists this week. Economics and policies should reflect this reality.


The electric car bubble will burst – and that’s a good thing

Matthew Lynn

Sony is getting into the electric car market, unveiling a snazzy-looking concept vehicle that combines its blockbuster entertainment portfolio with a battery and some wheels. Amazon is backing a new range of electric vans from Stellantis, the company formed from the merger between Chrysler and Fiat. Mercedes announced plans for a battery-powered car with a 600-mile (965 kilometres) range.


How long to midnight? The Doomsday Clock measures more than nuclear risk – and it’s about to be reset again

Jack Heinemann

In less than 24 hours the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will update the Doomsday Clock. It’s currently at 100 seconds from midnight – the metaphorical time when the human race could destroy the world with technologies of its own making.


Nature Conservation

Small gardens as vital as big ones for conserving bees, says study

Many urban gardens rich in pollinator-friendly plants and provide food all year round, find Bristol researchers


Expanding national parks not enough to protect nature, say scientists

‘Urgent’ coordinated action to tackle overconsumption, farming subsidies and the climate crisis also needed to halt biodiversity loss


Air pollution makes it harder for pollinators to find plants

A field trial found that levels of nitrogen oxides and ozone similar to those near roads led to a 70 per cent drop in the numbers of bees and butterflies on mustard plants


Animals infecting humans is scary. It’s worse when we infect them back

Mink farms threaten to become a source of new coronavirus variants — and an object lesson in how ‘spillback’ can make deadly diseases even deadlier.

Prescribed fires can help restore biodiversity to Great Plains

 Researchers found that prescribed fires to kill invasive woody plants helped increase the numbers of grassland birds.


‘We live and die by it’: Climate crisis threatens Bangladesh’s Sundarbans

The vast Sundarbans has always protected Bangladeshi coastal communities from the violent cyclones that regularly crash in from the Bay of Bengal, and they have always harvested its resources. But now, as the climate crisis encroaches, people are becoming even more dependent on the forest.


Study shows the impact of preemergent herbicides on native plants

Though invasive weeds can devastate native plant communities, a recent study featured in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management shows that efforts to manage those weeds can also cause harm.


Climate crisis drives Mediterranean coral populations to collapse

A new study has revealed that marine heatwaves associated with the climate crisis are bringing down the populations of coral in the Mediterranean, the biomass of which in some cases has been reduced by 80 to 90%.


A huge project is underway to sequence the genome of every complex species on Earth

Jenny Graves

The Earth Biogenome Project, a global consortium that aims to sequence the genomes of all complex life on earth (some 1.8 million described species) in ten years, is ramping up.

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