LINKS – Tuesday 18 February 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 is usually available around 9.30am.

PECAN also publishes these NEWS articles from newsletters, magazines, TV broadcasts, local newspapers, council publications and major overseas newspapers.

Post of the Day
Europe’s biggest economy is quitting coal, so far without sacking a single worker
Germany is doing what Australia says it can’t — shutting down every coal mine and coal-fired power plant in the country. But there’s a cost.

On This Day
February 18

Climate Change
‘Risks aren’t worth it’: QBE says parts of planet becoming uninsurable due to climate concerns
Global insurance giant QBE has warned climate change poses a material threat to its business and the entire economy as its chief executive Pat Regan said premiums were at risk of becoming too high in areas exposed to repeated, extreme weather.

‘We can save Earth’: Jeff Bezos says he’s committing $US10 billion to fight climate change
The world’s richest person is using his own money to start the Bezos Earth Fund.

‘Social tipping points’: climate change cultism’s survival strategy
Charles Essery
With such reanalysis coming to light, the CCCers must act quickly. The climate change tipping points, much like the ‘peak-oil’ tipping points have not happened.

Plan to give plastic shredding machine to ‘every single island’ in Asia-Pacific wins support
More than 25 years ago, Louise Hardman made a vow to do everything she could to rid the ocean of plastic. Now, her Plastic Collective has been granted $2.49 million to extend the already extensive work she’s done in the waste recycling field.

Australia needs to join the emissions technology revolution, Liberal Katie Allen says
The backbencher calls for a roadmap to net zero as ‘an arms race’ in low emissions technology drives transformation

Coalition’s handling of bushfires causes ‘substantial decline’ in support, ANU poll finds
Scott Morrison’s popularity slumps while public’s appetite for new coalmines falls even among Coalition voters, survey shows

Inside Australia’s climate emergency: the taps run dry
Dozens of Australian towns have run out of drinking water. This is what happens when the taps run dry

Almost 3 million Australians directly affected by bushfires: survey
Almost 3 million Australians were directly affected by the summer’s bushfire crisis, a new survey has found, with more than half of Australians likely to be affected by smoke.

Labor bipartisanship on nuclear energy needed: AWU [PAYWALL]
The Australian Workers’ Union has stepped up its call for Australia to embrace nuclear power by urging Labor’s leader to provide the bipartisanship needed.

Voters want to see new coal mines shafted [PAYWALL]
A new poll shows widespread voter disapproval over how Scott Morrison handled the bushfire crisis.

Drop gas exploration bans, ACCC urges [PAYWALL]
The consumer watchdog has warned that high gas prices are forcing factories to shut and companies to go into liquidation, as the Morrison government moves to extend its gas supply guarantee to ensure electricity generators can operate during peak demand.

Scott Morrison pushes technology investment target for climate [PAYWALL]
Scott Morrison is expected to adopt a technology investment target to avoid Australia signing up to an internationally imposed requirement for net zero emissions by 2050, with the new ­climate change plan to be presented at this year’s UN summit in Glasgow.

Labor MPs deliver warning on coal to Anthony Albanese [PAYWALL]
Anthony Albanese has been warned that Labor will struggle to win the support of workers across the resources sector — including in the West Australian iron ore and gas industries — if the party is viewed as hostile to coal.

Australia faces a multi-billion dollar economic hit without strong climate action
Inaction on climate change could cost the global economy up to US$9.87 trillion by 2050

‘Merry Crisis’: Scott Morrison’s government by assertion is wearing thin
Paul Bongiorno
A measure of the dreadful hole the Morrison government has dug for itself came at the weekend’s Fire Fight Australia benefit concert. Event host and comedian Celeste Barber drew a huge cheer from the 75,000-strong crowd when she said “it’s been such a hectic time. As Aussies we bear together and look after each other – because it turns out the people at the top don’t”.

Political donations and the rise of corporatocracy
Toni Hassan
Vested interests have always sought to influence politicians, but the problem of buying influence has in recent time developed into a cancer undermining the health of Australia’s democracy.

What Scott Morrison needs to do about climate change [PAYWALL]
Richard Denniss
The PM needs to commit to transitioning away from fossil fuels as soon as possible, while reassuring people that the sky will not fall if he does.

If AFP raid on the ABC was legal the law is wrong
Canberra Times editorial
The conclusion to be drawn from the Federal Court’s ruling police warrants used to raid the headquarters of the ABC last June were valid is the law needs to be changed.

Zali Steggall’s bold move for a national climate Act
Peter Boyer
Despite a lack of interest in the major parties, the Steggall bill may yet get traction

Rain has eased the dry, but more is needed to break the drought
David Jones et al
Some parts of Australia have enjoyed excellent rainfall this year, but others have not. Drought relief is still slow and patchy.

Why Labor must embrace nuclear power [PAYWALL]
Daniel Walton
It is not defensible for a workers party to run all the human risks of climate change when there is a solution sitting on the table.

Coles says these toys promote healthy eating. I say that’s rubbish
Carla Liuzzo
Stikeez, the latest collection of plastic collectables from Coles, flies in the face of the company’s plan to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket.

Our trade talks with Europe and Britain are set to become climate talks
Bruce Wilson and Chloe Ward
Europe will insist on carbon commitments before agreeing to a deal.

West Gate Tunnel saga shows risk of ‘lock-in’ on mega-projects pitched by business
James Whitten et al
States across Australia are increasingly using market-led proposals to build infrastructure. The emerging problems reflect the inherent risks of projects that bypass proper public planning processes.

The drought was a false farming crisis [PAYWALL]
Aaron Patrick
The past week’s torrential rain demonstrates the danger of propping up an industry when everything is going wrong.

Coal-fired power stations create jobs and give a free kick to rivals [PAYWALL]
Matt Canavan
In 1970 Gough Whitlam welcomed the federal government’s announcement that it would finance the building of the Gladstone Power Station.

Business and politics put Scott Morrison in a carbon wedge [PAYWALL]
Paul Kelly
Scott Morrison is caught between an immovable object and an irresistible force. The business community has escalated its demand for net zero carbon emissions by 2050 but the National Party rules out any such leap for the Morrison government.

Increased attention to sustainable development goals
Jamie DeLeeuw and Teri Behrens
Philanthropic funding in support of the sustainable development goals has been shooting up every year since their adoption, and funders are increasingly collaborating to chart their investments and global progress towards the goals. Still, a projected $2.5 trillion funding gap persists – with no silver bullet in sight, write

‘Energy laws have let us down’: Victoria pulls the plug
State government says national bureaucracy is keeping Victoria’s grid in the last century

The most common item of rubbish choking the Yarra River
Polystyrene – a common ocean pollutant that can take centuries to degrade – is the most prevalent item of rubbish choking the Yarra River.

Neighbours take Bald Hills wind farm to court over health complaints [PAYWALL]
Australia’s first group legal action for noise and health impacts from a wind farm has been lodged in the Victoria Supreme Court against the 106 megawatt Bald Hills project in Gippsland.

New South Wales
Students are planting fire-resistant native grasses to help the next generations understanding of bushfires
A new campaign has been launched in a Sydney school to help young people understand bushfires and the environment. Students have helped plant fire-resistant native grassees in their playground in the hope they learn more about their local environment.

Water restrictions to be eased in Sydney after downpour
Level 1 water restrictions will take effect from March 1, with the government hoping the two-week delay will ensure improved water quality after the bushfires.

Crisis-hit Bega Valley Shire faces $30k-a-day bill to truck in water [PAYWALL]
Urgent talks are under way after it emerged fire-ravaged communities in NSW are having to pay $30,000 a day to truck in drinking water because the overflowing Brogo Dam is “not up to scratch”.

New freight rail ‘green rules’ a bad idea, farmers warn [PAYWALL]
New pollution and noise rules for rail freight risks piling another 25,000 B-double trucks onto the roads in a perverse outcome of a state government green push that would also hurt the state’s grain industry and push up grocery prices, farmers warn.

This could be the final chance to protect our harbourside heritage
Jill L’Estrange
Some of Sydney Harbour’s most iconic and historically valuable locations are under increasing threat from redevelopment and commercialisation.

Cockatoo Island must be kept for the people of Sydney
SMH editorial
The future of Sydney’s Cockatoo Island is back in the news, with a proposal to attract private investors already stirring deep emotions here in the harbour city.

Hazard reductions missed in months before Canberra bushfires
The ACT government struggled to meet its hazard reduction targets in the months before the Orroral Valley fire tore through more than a third of the territory’s land mass, new figures show.

Government chooses wire-free light rail plan despite cost blowout fears
The government is pushing ahead with wire-free light rail in Canberra’s city centre, despite Chief Minister Andrew Barr previously saying he did not think it was necessary while flagging concerns about the cost.

Spate of car thefts — one at knifepoint — as north Queensland city battles youth crime
Police in north Queensland are attempting to locate a group of people, including several youths, over a series of car thefts — one at knifepoint — and reports of erratic driving in Townsville overnight.

Researchers claim solar efficiency breakthrough for flexible ‘skin’
Engineers at the University of Queensland say technology could be used to power small devices, such as a phone, within two years

Slow road ahead, but this is where our future jobs will come from
Queensland can’t sit still and rely on coal to generate a living.

Invasive pest fall armyworm discovered in Queensland
The invasive pest fall armyworm has been found on the Australian mainland for the first time, with Biosecurity Queensland mobilising to halt its spread.

Greater glider habitat illegally cleared by grazier, department finds
Queensland graziers have illegally cleared the equivalent of seven football fields of protected greater glider habitat, the federal Environment Department has found.

Can Queensland leave the Big Coal club without leaving a big hole in its finances?
Robert MacDonald
The Queensland Government promises to slash carbon emissions but it needs to keep burning coal to balance the books. It’s not clear how it’s going to resolve this tension.

Brisbane Metro could be cool – if it gets more than a ghost of a chance
John Birmingham
Brisbane’s Metro may seem underwhelming but an important first step for an increasingly gridlocked city.

Facebook comments encouraging tree-spiking not condoned by Bob Brown Foundation
The Bob Brown Foundation and pro-forestry campaigners continue to clash – this time over comments on social media.

Tasmanian Greens call for fish farming laws to be changed
The Greens have told a parliamentary committee looking into fish farming in the state that marine farm development proposals lack necessary independent assessment.

Blue Tier BioBlitz finds every known species of Tasmanian bats [PAYWALL]
Early results from a citizen science event in the Blue Tier Forest Reserve indicate every known species of bat in Tasmania can be found in the area.

Northern Territory
Breaking decades of precedent, NT Greens to preference conservatives ahead of Labor
The Northern Territory Greens say they want to send a message to the Labor Party ahead of the Northern Territory election in August by preferencing it last in a pivotal upcoming by-election.

New player complicates Rio’s Kakadu clean-up [PAYWALL]
Rio spends up on solar in WA as another investor urges it to unlock a low carbon energy resource at the Jabiluka uranium deposit near Kakadu.

Western Australia
Rio Tinto to splash $144m on solar and battery for new mine
Iron ore miner Rio Tinto will use the unrelenting Pilbara sun to help power its network.

Europe’s biggest economy is quitting coal, so far without sacking a single worker
Germany is doing what Australia says it can’t — shutting down every coal mine and coal-fired power plant in the country. But there’s a cost.

How the cruise industry is sailing towards a sustainable future [PAYWALL]
With a record number of new ships hitting our oceans each year, the tourism sector is finding new ways to sail ever more lightly on the planet.

Tread lightly with these planet-friendly travel essentials [PAYWALL]
Travel can be a carbon-heavy business, but you can do your bit for the environment by choosing eco-friendly (but still chic) products.

Nature Conservation
Shark-repellent bands promise to steer away sharks, but do they work?
Dramatic footage has emerged of a shark repellent being trialled in Australian waters, with a fake body and bloody meat used to show how the technology could stop water attacks.

Erdoğan’s ‘crazy project’: new Istanbul canal to link Black and Marmara Seas
Proposed route slices through a major drinking water source and an important stop for migratory birds

Beavers cut flooding and pollution and boost wildlife populations
Five-year study of animals in Devon finds measurable benefits to wildlife and people