Daily Links Feb 6

Growth economics in a finite world is oxymoronic, but woe betide any political candidate that campaigns on ‘degrowth’.  Still, I can’t see the revolution and putting the rich up against the wall happening any time soon. Jim Chalmers’s essay on a values added capitalism instead of neoliberalism is an incremental step away from ‘let it rip’ that prevails almost everywhere, but at least it’s a step.

Post of the Day

Single-use plastics surge globally by one kilogram per person

The world’s addiction to single-use plastics is growing worse by the year, with 139 million tonnes consumed in 2021, up from 133 million tonnes in 2019.


On This Day

February 6

Tu Bishvat – Israel


Climate Change

Western US wildfires have destroyed 246% more homes and buildings this decade. These fire scientists explain why

In nearly every Western state, more structures were destroyed by wildfire over the past decade than the one before. The crisis, scientists say, has human fingerprints all over it.


United States includes dam emissions in UN climate reporting for the first time

For the first time, the U.S. government in 2022 included methane emissions from dams and reservoirs in its annual report of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to the Inventory of Greenhouse Gases and Sinks required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.



Labor plan for nature repair market rehashes old proposal and risks failure, experts say

The private sector is not seen to be ready to act as the main buyer and the draft is cited as nearly identical to a Morrison-era proposal


Industry’s pre-budget salvo: Don’t step on our gas [$]

The gas industry has launched a pre-emptive strike ahead of the federal budget, warning continued intervention on prices will have dire consequences.


Gas sector calls on investment in new projects to lower prices [$]

Australia’s oil and gas industry has called on the Albanese government to invest in new projects while warning ‘interventionist’ policies will drive up prices.


Recycling fiasco must be a wake-up call

Age editorial

Complain to supermarkets and manufacturers. Re-use where we can. And avoid products needlessly packed in plastic in the first place.


If we have to fight this war, give us a say in the battle plans

Arlo Foyn Hill and Qing Ng

Lower the voting age to 16 because our future depends on climate action, not yours.


How to save $4 billion a year: reform a fuel tax credit scheme with no real rationale

Marion Terrill and Natasha Bradshaw

Revising the generous fuel tax credits given to businesses should be a priority for the Albanese government, because keeping them would conflict with two other pressing priorities: reducing carbon emissions and repairing the budget.


200 experts dissected the Black Summer bushfires in unprecedented detail. Here are 6 lessons to heed

Libby Rumpff et al

The Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20 were cataclysmic: a landmark in Australia’s environmental history. They burnt more than 10 million hectares, mostly forests in southeast Australia. Many of our most distinctive, ancient and vulnerable species were worst affected.


Drastic economic reform needed to address climate change

David Shearman

Realisation is dawning that the climate and environmental crises will not be solved by current national policies. The reason is that the current market economy based on everlasting growth is the prime cause of these crises.


Everything you should know about downsizing your home

Rachel Lane

“Downsizing” conjures images of tiny houses or apartments, noisy neighbours and relinquishing the family home. The reality is quite different.


The carbon tax we had to have – by any other name [$]

Dimitri Burshtein

The paradox is that, while a simple carbon trading scheme is economically efficient, it is politically costly.


EV narrative fails to tell the full story [$]

Chris Mitchell

Motoring journos have been obsessed with electric vehicles for a while but media spruikers of the technology seem to have missed the global implications of the rise of EV production.



Inspired by nature, Josephine is designing a floating sculpture that doubles as an ecosystem

Artist Josephine Jakobi, this year’s major prize winner of the International Art Textile Biennale, revisits the life cycles of Victoria’s Lake Tyers in her latest art installation project, Observatorium.


Historical Mount Buffalo Chalet remains closed to visitors as latest attempt to open it fails

Victoria’s historical Mount Buffalo chalet stands dormant as the latest attempt to partially reopen the mammoth building comes to nothing.


‘Lost everything’: Flood alert system failed, leaving residents to flee

Melbourne Water’s new alert system was supposed to give early warning of impending danger but did not give Melburnians much chance to escape a disastrous flood.


Pulp friction: 200 jobs to go as nation’s last white paper mill closes

The Maryvale Paper Mill in the Latrobe Valley is one of the few remaining buyers of Victoria’s native timber. Without it, native forest logging in the state could be over sooner than expected.


Bugs blamed for overcrowding on Melbourne trains

The Andrews government is asking commuters to be patient as specialists work to fix bugs in the system that are causing a peak-hour squeeze.


‘I didn’t want to be part of the human machine’: The Victorians powering up off-grid

Living in the bush, disconnected from the main power grid, is a big enough challenge – doing it into old age is another thing.


New South Wales

Dominic Perrottet vows $250 cash bonus to help households source cheaper electricity

The one-off $250 payment will be available for NSW households from July and can be used whether you choose to change energy providers, or stay put.


Cynical politics left fire victims abandoned. Never again

Serena Joyner

In the Blue Mountains, we felt utterly abandoned to learn that funds for bushfire recovery were skewed to Coalition seats.



Brumby spike has Namadgi rangers on high alert

An incursion of feral horses from Kosciuszko is presenting an increasing threat to Namadgi National Park, with the ACT government urging NSW to uphold its duty to protect endangered ecosystems.


Annual climate update to focus on effective carbon removal [$]

Australia’s Ambassador for Climate Change Kristen Tilley will speak at the Australian National University’s Climate Update on Monday, alongside whistleblower, Professor Andrew Macintosh.


Trees up to 400 years old illegally felled in ACT parks and reserves [$]

Chainsaws were recovered alongside drugs, cash and ammunition when police raided two properties in Canberra recently, the stolen tools reportedly used in ACT parks and reserves when illegal logging surged last winter.


Thousands of COVID tests headed for landfill as expiry date looms [$]

Around 48,000 rapid antigen tests the ACT secured from the national stockpile are set to expire this month, and those unable to be used in clinical settings likely headed for landfill.


How I stopped driving and started riding my bike around Canberra

Lanie Tindale

From forcing Teslas onto Summernats to getting about in a hot air balloon, Canberrans reduce their transport emissions in unique ways.


South Australia

Tax breaks announced for homes, businesses affected by River Murray floodwaters

As attention turns to reconnecting a major Riverland road that was cut off by floodwaters, the SA government also announces new tax relief measures aimed at helping those who lost their homes.


Landon hadn’t seen stars in 10 years. He fears others will have to experience the same

After working as a lighting consultant for two decades, Landon Bannister has become the president of an organisation fighting for the preservation of starry skies — and, somewhat ironically, arguing for cutting back on illumination.


No endorsement for Cradle Mountain project [$]


Wulinantikala/Cradle Mountain is an ancient Aboriginal cultural landscape that has been owned and managed by Aboriginal people since time began


Limited stops: The future of Tasmanian Local Government Review

James Redgrave

Last week the Director of Local Government and the Board hopped on their whistle stop tour into the far flung corners of this great state. Ostensibly the aim is to consult and perhaps to find the answers regarding the potential pathways to reform Tasmania’s broken local government sector.


Northern Territory

Why do we leave parks and beaches looking like this on public holidays?

Litter left at this Top End creek after an Australia Day party causes “despair” as locals clean up the mess. Here are some ideas to stop people leaving rubbish at beauty spots, especially on public holidays.


Western Australia

Australia’s newest coal-fired power plant ‘to be retired’ before the end of the decade

WA’s only privately owned coal-fired power station to close “before 2030” under plans that would bring the curtain down on the fuel’s use in the state’s economy.


WA bans more plastic products, but conservationists say it’s not enough

The Australian Marine Conservation Society say waiting two years to ban certain plastics would allow millions more harmful items to be produced.



Chile battling dozens of wildfires as death toll reaches 23

Dozens of wildfires cause Chile to extend an emergency order, as a heatwave complicates efforts to control fires that have claimed at least 23 lives.


El Salvador’s historic metal mining ban is in danger

Following its failed crypto scheme, authoritarian president Nayib Bukele’s cash-strapped government is making moves to reverse El Salvador’s metal mining ban. Its reintroduction would be a disaster for the nation’s already contaminated water supply.


Maelor Himbury
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