Dbytes #377 (15 May 2019)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Q: What is the difference between a 2-degree and a 4-degree world?” A: “Human civilisation.”
Lesley Hughes quoting John Schellnhuber in ‘When planetary catastrophe is your day job’ (The Monthly) [and see items 5 & 6]

In this issue of Dbytes

1. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999: a quick guide
2. From grassland to wasteland: Victoria breaks promise to create environmental reserve
3. ‘Wild’ grasses are in vogue as priceless native grasslands disappear
4. ‘Revolutionary change’ needed to stop unprecedented global extinction crisis
5. Beyond Hope
6. Reviewing climate models
7. Observing Environmental Change in Australia: Conversations for Sustainability

-~<>~-

1. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999: a quick guide

The EPBC Act contains two key regimes, which are outlined in this guide. The first is the environmental assessment regime for actions that are likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance. The second is the regime for biodiversity conservation, which includes, for example, processes for listing and managing threatened species, ecological communities and protected areas (such as National and Commonwealth Heritage places and Commonwealth reserves), as well as provisions regulating wildlife trade.

https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1819/Quick_Guides/EPBC

[And see from last week’s Dbyte: EPBC is up for review – five basic questions that need asking]

-~<>~-

2. From grassland to wasteland: Victoria breaks promise to create environmental reserve

Labor has failed to deliver a massive environmental reserve on Melbourne’s western fringe to protect endangered species and ecosystems, which was promised to offset tens of thousands of hectares of farmland it rezoned for housing.

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/victoria/from-grassland-to-wasteland-victoria-breaks-promise-to-create-environmental-reserve-20190512-p51mjd.html

[and see the next item]

-~<>~-

3. ‘Wild’ grasses are in vogue as priceless native grasslands disappear

Native grasslands are under threat world-wide, just as we’re waking up to their environmental worth and realising their commercial benefits. On the volcanic plains north-west of Melbourne, Australia, a small company is battling to revitalise an undervalued ecosystem.

https://www.foreground.com.au/cities/wild-grasses-are-in-vogue-as-priceless-native-grasslands-disappear/?fbclid=IwAR3nmTA4OGDAZIpBbLlFFEraAc3Ngiwdz3wHkkfAlsDKy_PCGX_hlPphQfg

-~<>~-

4. ‘Revolutionary change’ needed to stop unprecedented global extinction crisis

“We are witnessing the loss of biodiversity at rates never before seen in human history. Nearly a million species face extinction if we do not fundamentally change our relationship with the natural world, according to the world’s largest assessment of biodiversity. Last week, in the culmination of a process involving 500 biodiversity experts from over 50 countries, and 134 governments negotiated the final form of the Global Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).”

https://theconversation.com/revolutionary-change-needed-to-stop-unprecedented-global-extinction-crisis-116166

[Editor: And see my editorial discussing why asking for a ‘revolutionary change’ is a bit naïve.]

-~<>~-

5. Beyond Hope

“THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We’re fucked. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have — or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective — to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they’re reduced to trying to protect just one tree.”

https://orionmagazine.org/article/beyond-hope/

-~<>~-

6. Reviewing climate models

The Australia Institute: “The Government says that ambitious targets (greater than 26%) would be “economy wrecking”, adopting this rhetoric from the Business Council of Australia (BCA). The Government has also seized on new modelling from economist Brian Fisher, who claims lower emissions would have a very high cost for Australia. Media commentators called the impacts “apocalyptic”. These claims are outliers and not credible. The extensive literature on the cost of action contradicts claims from the BCA, Brian Fisher and the government. Higher ambition is possible with low to negligible economic impact.

This report examines 22 reports modelling higher ambition emission reductions by 2030.
19 reports are from the last five years alone, in peer reviewed journals, and from academics, government agencies and consultants. This report also considers the three major Treasury reports from 2008 to 2013.
10 of the reports consider economy wide impacts.
12 reports look exclusively at electricity, including 5 modelling 100% renewable energy.

None of these reports show action on climate change is ‘economy wrecking’. All of them show the cost is very small compared to ongoing economic growth. Some reports show positive benefits from action, even without considering avoided climate change.”

http://www.tai.org.au/content/a-model-line-up

-~<>~-

7. Observing Environmental Change in Australia: Conversations for Sustainability

A comprehensive and engaging review of how the past decade of Australian Government research infrastructure investment has transformed our understanding of the environment. May 2019 marks TERN’s tenth birthday and to celebrate just some of the NCRIS-enabled science success stories, we bring you Observing Environmental Change in Australia – Conversations for Sustainability.

https://www.tern.org.au/Observing-Environmental-Change-pg32842.html

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. For the past decade Dbytes has been supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to received it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David Salt

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s