Daily Links Feb 23

Pigeon-holing often has superficial appeal but it can lead to overlooking sensible statements made by nutters. Pauline Hanson, not a person to attract approval on almost any topic, has some astute observations on energy and campaign financing …  but it’s ok, after this observation I’m back to my default position of general scorn and derision.

Post of the Day

Global plastic consumption has quadrupled in 3 decades, says OECD

Plastic consumption has quadrupled over the past three decades while its production has doubled from 2000 to 2019 to reach 460 million tonnes, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says.


On This Day

February 23


Climate Change

35 million year old data could unlock future of Antarctica

Scientists have unravelled the secrets of a period 35 million years ago when Earth cooled rapidly, leaving Antarctica shrouded in ice. The findings could help to predict the unstable future of the West Antarctic ice sheet, researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute say.



AGL open to higher takeover bid but says Cannon-Brookes plan to close coal by 2030 is unrealistic

Chief operating officer says consortium needs to offer at least 30% premium on share price and ‘engage once more or two times more’


AGL power play moves Australia ‘beyond the quarry’

The clean energy power play by a tech billionaire for AGL heralds a major shift in the tempo of Australia’s transition from fossil fuels, a leading infrastructure manager says.


‘No precedent’: AGL deal would kill Keating’s energy reforms [$]

The potential $5 billion buyout of AGL is shaping up as an “unprecedented” test case for the ACCC, according to experts.


Unions fear mass job losses if AGL takeover closes coal by 2030 [$]

Atlassian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes said 10,000 jobs would be created by spending $20 billion on new renewable projects, but only 600 would be ongoing.

Cannon-Brookes tips $200m into debt fund, targeting renewables and batteries

Cannon-Brookes makes another major play into green energy transition, tipping $200m into fund financing renewables and battery storage projects.


Pipe dream or $26b nightmare? Warnings Australia’s gas plan is a network to nowhere

Global Energy Monitor says Australia’s pipeline plans, the fourth highest in the world, will make it significantly harder to help global efforts to keep temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.


Why Scott Morrison is wrong on AGL [$]

Kerry Schott

There is no reasonable case on power price and supply grounds for any veto of the Brookfield/Grok Ventures takeover bid by the Morrison government.


Is the AGL dream team the PM’s climate saviour? [$]

Pru Goward

The bid to decarbonise Australia’s power giant could allow the government to let the market carry the transition risk and show the climate independents that private enterprise has it covered.


AGL bid holds too many risks for power grid stability [$]

Judith Sloan

Let’s just hope the market-led acceleration from coal to renewables doesn’t result in galloping electricity prices for consumers along with sporadic brownouts and blackouts.


Why our energy future is electric

Joel Gibson

The next big thing in renewable energy is virtual power plants, made up of multiple units of solar panel batteries that can be switched on via a central control room to supply power to the grid.


Energy poverty in the climate crisis: what Australia and the European Union can learn from each other

Sangeetha Chandrashekeran et al

As the transition to clean energy unfolds, some fear the decarbonisation of the electricity sector will mean higher prices. And high prices can lead to energy poverty: when a household cannot afford the essential electricity services needed for a decent standard of living, such as heating.


Australia needs to ditch coal before it’s too late

Gabriel Filippelli

With other nations around the world eliminating coal as an energy source, Australia needs to do more to catch up.


Pauline Hanson v the gas giants: who would have thought?

Callum Foote

When people think of the Queensland senator, the words ”policy visionary” don’t jump to mind. But her One Nation party is promoting a better policy on our gas resources than its rivals in Federal Parliament.


How Scott Morrison might junk the Cannon-Brookes and Brookfield mega-bid for AGL

Michael West 

Will Scott Morrison’s government block the radical AGL takeover bid by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Brookfield? It’s a deal which accelerates Australia’s decarbonisation, creates jobs, cuts energy prices, and saves AGL shareholders from a slow death, but Morrison has two regulators who can still nix it.


Morrison’s attempt to derail AGL takeover is a new challenge for ‘moderates’ [$]

Bernard Keane

Good luck to those Liberals in urban seats defending the Morrison government’s moves to block climate change action by investors.

“Makes no sense:” Push for new gas pipelines could create $A675bn of stranded assets

Michael Mazengarb

A US$500 billion global rush to build new gas pipelines – including Australia’s “gas fired recovery” – undermines efforts to achieve zero net goals.



Update for Knox wildlife habitat corridor plan

Right now, biodiversity in Knox is at a tipping point


New South Wales

‘On our own terms’: Anaiwan people look to buy 240 hectares of bushland to reclaim country

The Anaiwan people say they hope to use the block of land 30 minutes north-west of Armidale to reconnect with their culture and language


‘Need not apply:’ NSW to effectively ban offshore mining exploration

The NSW government will reject all pending or future applications for offshore mineral, coal and petroleum exploration to protect the state’s coastline.


Sydney hit by wild storms

Sydney commuters face a tough journey as damaging winds and heavy rainfall cause major traffic disruption and property damage.


Major question marks hang over power station closure [$]

A government department undertook a secret eight-month modelling project into a Lake Macquarie power station before its owners announced its early closure last week.


Claim electric car subsidy a ‘reverse Robin Hood’ scheme [$]

Postcode data shows a green scheme that subsidises people buying electric cars has been overwhelmingly taken up by wealthy Sydney suburbs.


Transport minister sleepwalked into rail chaos

SMH editorial

Transport Minister David Elliott needs to focus on customer service and working with unions constructively or the Premier should consider whether he is the right person for this crucial role.



Rapid response team to fight invasive species in ACT

A rapid response team has been established in the ACT to defend against the increasing biosecurity threat posed by invasive species.



Queensland gears up for shift to renewables and decentralised power with microgrid R&D hub

Queensland Labor government welcomes $6 million Microgrid and Isolated Systems Test facility in Cairns, established by Ergon Energy late last year.


South Australia

‘Just add water and it turns’: Stunning views as Lake Eyre fills but more rain still needed

Recent rain over Australia’s inland Channel Country is breathing new life into the Lake Eyre Basin, with graziers and businesses excited for a big year ahead.



From a billion trees down to 150 million, opponents seize on Prime Minister’s plantation scheme

The spectre of the disastrous managed investment schemes loomed large over Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s plantation grant scheme announcement, but industry is confident it can work with farmers to avoid problems of the past.


Rio Tinto and state government mull over Bell Bay smelter future

Mining giant Rio Tinto and the Tasmanian government have agreed to jointly investigate future operations at the Bell Bay aluminium smelter, one of the state’s most energy-intensive industrial operations.


Environmentalists want 60,000 hectares of native forest locked up to protect parrots

A plan defined by environmentalists as the last chance to prevent extinction of the Swift Parrot wants 60,000 hectares of Tasmania’s public forests protected from logging.


‘Totally disrespectful’: Indigenous elder slams damage of Aboriginal midden [$]

An Aboriginal elder says the actions of a man who disturbed a significant shell midden by bulldozing a track to the beach at a local bay has caused damange spiritually and culturally.


Western Australia

Conservation concerns as big groups of rare sharks found along Perth coast

Scalloped hammerheads, usually only spotted north of Jurien Bay, were documented in waters south of Perth by a team of researchers.


Plan to ban shark fishing in the west [$]

The plan follows a fatal attack at a popular swimming spot where hobbyists had routinely bloodied the water.


University of Western Australia looking into grapevine dormancy and climate change response

Work into grapevine bud dormancy could have wider reaching positive impacts for other crops to help deal with climate change.


How WA government’s COVID response hampered its promise to move away from mining

Gareth Parker

In WA, mining is the 800-pound gorilla consuming every banana in the jungle, and the state’s COVID response has hurt efforts to diversify the economy.



Less than 10 per cent of the world’s plastic is being recycled, new report shows

A new report has found that 460 million tonnes of plastics were used in 2019, the number nearly doubling since 2000.


Global plastic consumption has quadrupled in 3 decades, says OECD

Plastic consumption has quadrupled over the past three decades while its production has doubled from 2000 to 2019 to reach 460 million tonnes, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says.


290 million new city dwellers benefit China’s climate balance

Contrary to popular belief, China’s massive emigration from rural areas to cities has been shown to have a positive effect on China’s carbon stocks. Urbanization can even play a role in attaining climate neutrality. This is the conclusion of researchers based upon analyses of vast amounts of satellite data.


Perfecting the EV battery recycling process

Recycling of electric car batteries can be easier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly, according to a new scientific article, which outlines an optimized recycling process. The research represents a vital step towards the electromobility society of the future.

Researchers claim major breakthrough in Li-S batteries that could revolutionise batteries

Drexel’s sulfur cathode breakthrough could pave the way for better-performing and sustainably sourced batteries for EVs, computers and mobile devices.


New technology fused with photosynthetic life offers path to green energy

Researchers have developed a patented hybrid device — part living organism, part bio battery, capable of producing stored energy by increasing energy flow under light conditions where natural photosynthesis is normally inhibited.


Nature Conservation

Can a hidden world be saved from an invasive scourge?

Gabriel Popkin

The emerald ash border threatens ash trees that anchor a unique world on the Delmarva Peninsula.


Maelor Himbury
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