Dbytes #463 (17 February 2021)

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


“In exposing a genuine conspiracy, first you find the evidence, then you make the claim. In alleging a conspiracy theory, first you make the claim, then you look for evidence.”
George Monbiot



In this issue of Dbytes

1. Australia must control its killer cat problem. A major new report explains how, but doesn’t go far enough
2. Our national water policy is outdated, unfair and not fit for climate challenges: major new report
3. ‘It’s an ecological wasteland’: offsets for Sydney toll road were promised but never delivered
4. Did farmers do the ‘heavy lifting’ under Kyoto?
5. Implications of the 2019–2020 megafires for the biogeography and conservation of Australian vegetation
6. Country-based rate of emissions reductions should increase by 80%
7. Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need.

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1. Australia must control its killer cat problem. A major new report explains how, but doesn’t go far enough

A recent parliamentary inquiry into the problem of feral and pet cats in Australia has affirmed the issue is indeed of national significance. The final report, released last week, calls for a heightened, more effective, multi-pronged and coordinated policy, management and research response. As ecologists, we’ve collectively spent more than 50 years researching Australia’s cat dilemma. We welcome most of the report’s recommendations, but in some areas it doesn’t go far enough, missing major opportunities to make a difference.

https://theconversation.com/australia-must-control-its-killer-cat-problem-a-major-new-report-explains-how-but-doesnt-go-far-enough-154931

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2. Our national water policy is outdated, unfair and not fit for climate challenges: major new report

A report by the Productivity Commission released today says the policy must be updated. It found the National Water Initiative is not fit for the challenges of climate change, a growing population and our changing perceptions of how we value water. The report’s findings matter to all Australians, whether you live in a city or a drought-ravaged town. If governments don’t manage water better, on our behalf, then entire communities may disappear. Agriculture will suffer and nature will continue to degrade. It’s time for a change.

https://globalwaterforum.org/2021/02/15/our-national-water-policy-is-outdated-unfair-and-not-fit-for-climate-challenges-major-new-report/

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3. ‘It’s an ecological wasteland’: offsets for Sydney toll road were promised but never delivered

The M7 was supposed to be offset by environmental protection 15 years ago. Leaked documents show that never happened.

‘It’s an ecological wasteland’: offsets for Sydney toll road were promised but never delivered | Environment | The Guardian

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4. Did farmers do the ‘heavy lifting’ under Kyoto?

The answer is ‘no’, because nobody (in Australia) did any heavy lifting under Kyoto. It is certainly true however that environmental laws have had an impact on farmers and that this has been the cause of considerable grief over the years. Perhaps we should pay them for ecosystem services from their properties.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2021/02/16/did-farmers-do-the-heavy-lifting-under-kyoto/

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5. Implications of the 2019–2020 megafires for the biogeography and conservation of Australian vegetation

-The Black Summer fires burnt more than seven million hectares of eucalypt forests and woodlands and more than 300,000 ha of rainforest.
-An estimated 816 vascular plant species had more than 50 per cent of their populations or ranges burn.
-More than 150 species of native vascular plants are estimated to have experienced fire across 90 per cent or more of their ranges.
-Species particularly vulnerable to the bushfires include epiphytic orchids, which grow on trees, and fire-sensitive rainforest species.
-More than three quarters of rainforest communities were burnt in parts of New South Wales. These contain many ancient Gondwanan plant lineages that are now only found in small, fragmented ranges.

Implications of the 2019–2020 megafires for the biogeography and conservation of Australian vegetation was published today in Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21266-5
Plants most at risk after black summer megafires – CSIRO

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6. Country-based rate of emissions reductions should increase by 80%

A new study in Nature has found that, if all countries meet their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and continue to reduce emissions at the same rate after 2030, the probability of limiting warming to 2°C is 26 per cent. On current trends the probability of staying below 2°C is only five per cent, according to the study.

Country-based rate of emissions reductions should increase by 80% beyond nationally determined contributions to meet the 2 °C target | Communications Earth & Environment (nature.com)

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7. Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need.

Three things are obvious. The collective emission reduction efforts of nations will not avoid 3oC global warming by the century’s end. Therefore, national adaptation actions will need prepare for the worse than expected scale and impact from the effects of climate change. As a result, earlier ideological assumptions about governments will have to give way to policies that are interventionist and systemic.

Preparing for a 3°C warmer future: the ideological shift and institutional response Australia will need. – Pearls and IrritationsPearls and Irritations (johnmenadue.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. From 2007-2018 Dbytes was 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 receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David

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