Dbytes #381 (13 June 2019)

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

“Extinction is not inevitable. It is a failure, potentially even a crime – a theft from the future that is entirely preventable.”
Woinarski et al, The Conversation


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Fixing Australia’s extinction crisis means thinking bigger than individual species
2. Climate change threatens 26 native species in Great Dividing Range
3.
Academia’s obsession with quantity
4. Global fossil fuel subsidies reach $5.2 trillion, and $29 billion in Australia
5. Costa Rica Becomes the First Nation to Ban Fossil Fuels
6. Climate sceptic or climate denier? It’s not that simple and here’s why
7. Do Big Unstructured Biodiversity Data Mean More Knowledge?

-~<>~-

1. Fixing Australia’s extinction crisis means thinking bigger than individual species

While much conservation effort focuses on protecting individual species, we are failing to protect and restore their habitats. Our ongoing research into environmental investment programs shows that current levels of investment do not even come close to matching what’s actually needed to downgrade threatened ecosystems. One of the programs we evaluated was the 20 Million Trees Program, a part of the Australian government’s National Landcare Program. For example, we analysed investment targeted at the critically endangered Peppermint Box Grassy Woodlands of South Australia. Fewer than three square kilometres of woodland were planted. That’s less than 1% of what was needed to move the conservation status of these woodlands by one category, from critically endangered to endangered.

https://theconversation.com/fixing-australias-extinction-crisis-means-thinking-bigger-than-individual-species-115559

-~<>~-

2. Climate change threatens 26 native species in Great Dividing Range

More than 20 native animals would disappear from the Great Dividing Range before the end of the century if global emissions continue at business as usual rates, according to new analysis by Australian researchers. The University of Queensland and Australian Conservation Foundation study, published this week in Global Ecology and Conservation, examines native fauna in a part of the country that is home to three-quarters of the population and much of Australia’s biodiversity. The scientists and policy experts used climate models from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change to assess how many endemic species could face extinction in the Great Dividing Range due to warming temperatures.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/16/climate-change-threatens-26-native-species-in-great-dividing-range-study-finds?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Tweet

-~<>~-

3. Academia’s obsession with quantity
By Joern Fischer

If the most “successful” senior academics on average did half the teaching, half the fund raising, and half the number of publications a year – and instead double their mentoring and reflection before they take on random extra “stuff” – academia would do much better at advancing wisdom rather than just being yet another game where the only rule is that “more is better”.

https://ideas4sustainability.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/academias-obsession-with-quantity-revisited-yet-again/

-~<>~-

4. Global fossil fuel subsidies reach $5.2 trillion, and $29 billion in Australia

New analysis commissioned by the International Monetary Fund has shown that global fossil fuel subsidies continue to grow, despite the growing urgency of the need to decarbonise the global economy. The working paper prepared by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department estimated that, in 2017, global fossil fuel subsidies grew to $5.2 trillion, representing 6.5 per cent of combined global GDP. China leads all countries in the level of subsidies provided to fossil fuels, which the IMF report estimated to total $1.4 trillion in 2015. The United States followed with $649 billion in subsidies, Russia with $551 billion and the EU with $289 billion.

https://reneweconomy.com.au/global-fossil-fuel-subsidies-reach-5-2-trillion-and-29-billion-in-australia-91592/

-~<>~-

5. Costa Rica Becomes the First Nation to Ban Fossil Fuels

Sustainability has become the focus of the world over the last decade, and many countries have made great strides in their efforts to combat climate change. Japan has achieved nearly zero waste in select towns, and over 40% of Denmark’s citizens commute by bicycle to work.

Today, Costa Rica took steps to eclipsing even these amazing countries in terms of sustainability. President Carlos Alvarado announced they would be banning fossil based fuels altogether. This makes Costa Rica the first country in the world to completely decarbonize.

https://medium.com/in-kind/costa-rica-becomes-the-first-nation-to-ban-fossil-fuels-a180691daae4

-~<>~-

6. Climate sceptic or climate denier? It’s not that simple and here’s why

It’s fine to ask questions, but you also have to listen to the answers. Too often, so-called sceptics do not want to have their views challenged (let alone changed) and do not wish to engage with the science. Even worse, they may choose to adopt any number of justifications for rejecting science, not from their own free inquiry but from a ready-made selection provided by commercially or ideologically motivated industries. This move away from “sceptic” might, therefore, be seen as simply an improvement in accuracy. But the move to “denier” might be seen as derogatory, especially as the term is associated with nefarious stances such as holocaust denial. But is it, at least, accurate?

https://theconversation.com/climate-sceptic-or-climate-denier-its-not-that-simple-and-heres-why-117913

-~<>~-

7. Do Big Unstructured Biodiversity Data Mean More Knowledge?

Advances in citizen science and remote sensing technology have heralded an era of “big unstructured data” for biodiversity conservation. However, the value of big unstructured data for assessing changes in species populations, and effectively guiding conservation management has not been rigorously assessed. This can be achieved only by benchmarking big unstructured data against high-quality structured datasets, and ensuring the latter are not lost through an over-emphasis on “big data.” Here, we illustrate the current trend to disproportionately prioritize data quantity over data quality and highlight the discrepancy in global availability between both data types.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2018.00239/full

-~<>~-


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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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