LINKS – Tuesday 2 June 2020

LINKS is a daily list of news items on climate change, national and state news, sustainability and conservation. LINKS is compiled my Maelor Himbury, a volunteer with the Australian Conservation Foundation. It will be available around 10.00am.


Post of the Day
Sixth mass extinction of wildlife accelerating, scientists warn
Analysis shows 500 species on brink of extinction – as many as were lost over previous century


On This Day
Jun 2


Coronavirus Watch
Confirmed cases: 7,204. Deaths: 103


Can you refuse to return to work after coronavirus restrictions lift?
For many people, the prospect of returning to workplaces is fast approaching. How will your office and commute be different? What should your boss be doing to prepare? And are they responsible if you get sick? We ask the experts.


Climate Change
Responding to climate crisis during COVID-19 recovery efforts
Yarra Council is calling on the State and Federal governments to cut emissions and improve environmental outcomes as part of post-coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery efforts.


Study shows today’s atmospheric carbon dioxide levels greater than 23 million-year record
A common message in use to convey the seriousness of climate change to the public is: ‘Carbon dioxide levels are higher today than they have been for the past one million years!’ This new study by Brian Schubert (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) and coauthors Ying Cui and A. Hope Jahren used a novel method to conclude that today’s carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are actually higher than they have been for the past 23 million years.


The human factor limits hope of climate fixes
Engineering the climate can help lower temperatures and reduce climate change impacts. New research shows that when accounting for human behaviour, climate engineering leads to significant economic and social risks.


National
AEMO pushes for minimum standards for solar, battery storage and EVs
AEMO seeks powers to impose minimum standards for rooftop solar, battery storage and EVs in an effort to create a single, nationally consistent set of rules.


CSIRO spin-off raises $6m to accelerate deployment of battery optimisation software
CSIRO battery optimisation spin-off Evergen completes successful $6m crowd investment round, to accelerate commercialisation of software platform.


Australia among global ‘hot spots’ as droughts worsen in warming world
The world’s major food baskets will experience more extreme droughts than previously forecast as greenhouse gases rise, with southern Australia among the worst-hit, climate projections show.


‘Investors already anxious about it’: Australia’s gas future questioned on Q+A
Queensland Nationals senator Matt Canavan defends his belief that Australia should leave the Paris Climate Accord as economic researcher Zoe Whitton warns Australia’s plans for a gas-fired future may not be entirely plausible.


QBE divests thermal coal, predicts post-virus green boom [PAYWALL]
General insurer QBE has sold down all its holding in thermal coal as it prepares for a surge in demand for environmental and social impact finance after the coronavirus-induced economic crisis.


We need modest climate targets, says Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon [PAYWALL]
Joel Fitzgibbon has poured doubt over whether Labor will win the next election if it adopts more ambitious medium-term climate change policies than the Coalition.


Yes, Australia’s emissions are falling – but it’s a hollow boast
Greg Jericho
Had we continued on the path we were on from 2009 to 2013, things could have been so much better


Victoria
Push to turn market parking lot into paved paradise hits a speedbump
A long-running bid to replace an unlovely asphalt car park on the fringes of Melbourne’s CBD with a vast civic square is set to hit another hurdle this week, with an 11th-hour proposal to allow paid parking on the site.


New $5 million park for Yarra River’s north bank [PAYWALL]
A neglected part of the Yarra River’s north bank is to get a new park as part of a $500 million redevelopment with a maritime theme.


The giant flaw in Melbourne’s train timetable [PAYWALL]
As Melburnians slowly stagger back to their city offices, serious concerns have been raised about how users will be able to social distance during peak-hour periods. But experts say there is a way to keep commuters safe.


The Leadbeater’s possum finally had its day in court. It may change the future of logging in Australia
Julia Dehm
It’s a stunning win for a small community group that relied on crowd funding to cover legal costs.


New South Wales
Western Sydney airport metro line won’t benefit the west, expert warns
The proposed $11 billion metro line connecting the new Western Sydney airport to other public transport will do little to benefit the city’s west long term, one of the area’s largest stakeholders warns.


The curious cracks in this forest will cost $1 million to fix
After three extremely dry years, more than 500 cracks — some up to three metres deep — appear throughout the floor of the Pilliga Forest in western New South Wales.


Market key on emissions, says Eden-Monaro Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs
Fiona Kotvojs, the Liberal ­candidate for the Eden-Monaro by-election, has called for Australia’s post-2030 emissions reduction targets to be “market-driven” and left open the possibility of supporting an emissions trading scheme.


One third of NSW government cars to be electric [PAYWALL]
The NSW Government has quietly released a plan to turn one third of all its new cars electric, but another report has a warning for the idea’s future.


ACT
Leaked bushfire review details explosive claims about Emergency Service Agency commissioner and handling of fire crisis [PAYWALL]
A leaked internal review into Canberra’s bushfire season has detailed explosive claims about the Emergency Service Agency’s handling of the crisis, the behaviour of its high-profile commissioner and the level of discontent within the paid ranks of the ACT Rural Fire Service.


Queensland
‘Nice to know Cape York is not part of Queensland’: Peninsula snubbed in easing of travel restrictions
Far North Queensland tourism operators are jumping for joy at the easing of travel restrictions, but those in a region the size of Victoria are not so impressed.


‘You cannot play down the seriousness’: Union concerns over gas safety incident at Queensland coal mine
The mining union says there has been a gas-related safety incident at the coal mine directly next to the Grosvenor Mine at Moranbah, where five men were injured in a an underground explosion last month.


ReefClean goes digital to ditch marine litter
Five new digital waste disposal campaigns funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust will call out the dumping of single-use plastic waste which ends up on our beaches and in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.


Wildlife and habitat recovery funding for Queensland National Parks
Recovery actions for threatened plants and animals in Queensland bushfire-affected areas will receive $1.95 million in funding under the Morrison Government’s $50 million Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery package.


Some biofuel for thought – why we’re so half-hearted about revving up ethanol
Robert MacDonald
The Queensland Government’s policy for boosting the biofuels industry isn’t performing to expectations. And guess whose fault it is? Ours apparently.


South Australia
Charles Sturt Council hands $5000 to Climate Emergency Australia to become a ‘founding member’
An Adelaide council has given $5000 to a national climate change advocacy group, securing its spot on the advisory committee.


Environment watchdog opposes suburban helipad plan [PAYWALL]
Peregrine Corporation’s plan for a helipad on its Kensington head office has suffered a blow, with the state’s environment watchdog opposing the “highly intrusive” move.


Tasmania
Critically endangered herb thriving on Macquarie Island after seven-year feral animal eradication program
The flowering bedstraw was thought to have died out on the sub-Antarctic island in the 1980s


Reason behind ‘gut-wrenching’ fish deaths revealed [PAYWALL]
Authorities said the reason behind the masses of dead fish on a popular beach is “not unusual”, despite longstanding locals never having witnessed the phenomenon.


Biodiversity is our lifeblood, and we are bleeding
Peter Boyer
Regular walkers on Hobart’s mountain tracks will know this scene: a small, speckled, brown-coloured bird hopping along a few metres ahead. If you stand still or walk slowly, it will remain those few metres away, apparently unconcerned.


Western Australia
Rio Tinto investors ‘shocked’, want answers on rock shelter blast
Rio Tinto is under pressure to explain the destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal rock shelter site in Western Australia with a leading investor group saying its members were shocked and wanted answers.


WA minister says his office not made aware of blast threat to Juukan Gorge
State minister denies prior knowledge of destruction of ‘deep time’ Aboriginal heritage sites in Western Australia’s Pilbara region as mining giant issues formal apology.


Sustainability
Graph of the Day: Germany reaches 56% renewables for 2020
Renewable energy accounts for 56 per cent of Germany’s electricity supply in first five months of 2020.


Climate activists stage protest at oilfield in southern England
Extinction Rebellion activists staged a protest on Monday at an oilfield in southern England part owned by British energy company UK Oil & Gas Plc, according to a spokeswoman for the group and photos on social media.


New UK business group launched to accelerate switch to 100% electric
The international non-profit The Climate Group is today announcing a new partnership with BT Group: the UK Electric Fleets Alliance, to promote a faster switch to electric vehicles (EVs). Incorporating Openreach, the digital network business, BT Group operates the second largest corporate vehicle fleet in the UK[i].


New NiMH batteries perform better when made from recycled old NiMH batteries
A new method for recycling old batteries can provide better performing and cheaper rechargeable hydride batteries (NiMH) as shown in a new study.


‘Normal Is the problem’
Andrew Nikiforuk
Let’s face facts: our hi-tech, globalized-trade-anything-for-peanuts world run mostly by tyrants isn’t natural.


Nature Conservation
Sixth mass extinction of wildlife accelerating, scientists warn
Analysis shows 500 species on brink of extinction – as many as were lost over previous century


‘Ban wildlife meat or face new crisis’, new paper says [PAYWALL]
Pandemics caused by human abuse of wildlife could be the ­tipping point for the collapse of civilisation, and the bushmeat trade should be banned immediately, a new paper on the Earth’s sixth great extinction has said.


The Trump presidency is the worst ever for public lands
“President Trump is the only president in U.S. history to have removed more public lands than he protected,” reads the analysis.


Report on New Caledonia’s coral reefs offers a glimmer of hope for the future
The latest report from Global Reef Expedition scientists provides a promising assessment of coral reef health and resiliency in New Caledonia.


Conserving biodiverse ‘slow lanes’ in a rapidly changing world
The notion of conserving climate change refugia — areas relatively buffered from current climate change that shelter valued wildlife, ecosystems, and other natural resources — is only about 10 years old, but the field has matured enough that a leading journal has prepared a special issue on the topic that offers a first ‘look back at how far we’ve come and a view forward to the work that is still needed,’ says editor Toni Lyn Morelli, a research ecologist at UMass Amherst.


Climate change an imminent threat to glass sponge reefs
Warming ocean temperatures and acidification drastically reduce the skeletal strength and filter-feeding capacity of glass sponges, according to new UBC research.