Dbytes #557 (25 January 2023)

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


“Like rabbits and other vertebrate pests, carp are emblematic of our inability to deal with entrenched pest animals. There are no silver bullets.”
Stuart et al, The Conversation [see item]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. System to protect Australia’s threatened species from development ‘more or less worthless’
2. Half a century of rising extinction risk of coral reef sharks and rays
3. Offsetting Us Up To Fail: The myths of ‘nature markets’ explained
4. The Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units
5. Past eight years confirmed to be the eight warmest on record
6. How to Conserve Wildlife Migrations in the American West
7. Exploding carp numbers are ‘like a house of horrors’ for our rivers. Is it time to unleash carp herpes?
8. Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections

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1. System to protect Australia’s threatened species from development ‘more or less worthless’

Environment ministers’ decisions spanning 15 years made no difference to amount of habitat destroyed, researchers say

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jan/24/system-to-protect-threatened-species-from-development-more-or-less-worthless-study-finds

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2. Half a century of rising extinction risk of coral reef sharks and rays

Sharks and rays are key functional components of coral reef ecosystems, yet many populations of a few species exhibit signs of depletion and local extinctions. The question is whether these declines forewarn of a global extinction crisis. We use IUCN Red List to quantify the status, trajectory, and threats to all coral reef sharks and rays worldwide. Here, we show that nearly two-thirds (59%) of the 134 coral-reef associated shark and ray species are threatened with extinction. Alongside marine mammals, sharks and rays are among the most threatened groups found on coral reefs. Overfishing is the main cause of elevated extinction risk, compounded by climate change and habitat degradation. Risk is greatest for species that are larger-bodied (less resilient and higher trophic level), widely distributed across several national jurisdictions (subject to a patchwork of management), and in nations with greater fishing pressure and weaker governance. Population declines have occurred over more than half a century, with greatest declines prior to 2005. Immediate action through local protections, combined with broad-scale fisheries management and Marine Protected Areas, is required to avoid extinctions and the loss of critical ecosystem function condemning reefs to a loss of shark and ray biodiversity and ecosystem services, limiting livelihoods and food security.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-35091-x

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3. Offsetting Us Up To Fail: The myths of ‘nature markets’ explained

Australian governments have committed to tackling the twin climate and biodiversity crises but continue to subsidise and approve fossil fuels and habitat destruction. While simple policy solutions exist, governments are instead relying on over-complicated market-based solutions to conceal the fundamental contradiction between support for fossil fuel production and promises to save the environment.

Summer Series – Offsetting Us Up To Fail: The myths of ‘nature markets’ explained [Webinar] – The Australia Institute

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4. The Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units

The Independent Review of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) has found that the ACCU scheme is fundamentally sound but needs improvement, particularly regarding governance, transparency, co-benefits, integrity and overall effectiveness. The final report made 16 recommendations to clarify the intention of the scheme, demarcate and separate governance roles, improve transparency, information and incentives, remove unnecessary restrictions on data sharing, and provide more support for regional communities and First Nations peoples to participate. The Government has accepted all 16 recommendations ‘in principle’ and stated it will work with stakeholders on implementation.

Independent Review of ACCUs Final Report | December 2022 (dcceew.gov.au)

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5. Past eight years confirmed to be the eight warmest on record

GENEVA, 12 January 2023 – The past eight years were the warmest on record globally, fueled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat, according to six leading international temperature datasets consolidated by the World Meteorological Organization.

The average global temperature in 2022 was about 1.15 [1.02 to 1.27] °C above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels. 2022 is the 8th consecutive year (2015-2022) that annual global temperatures have reached at least 1°C above pre-industrial levels, according to all datasets compiled by WMO. 2015 to 2022 are the eight warmest years on record. The likelihood of – temporarily – breaching the 1.5°C limit of the Paris Agreement is increasing with time.
Past eight years confirmed to be the eight warmest on record | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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6. How to Conserve Wildlife Migrations in the American West

This report is based on a synthesis, conducted by the Wyoming Migration Initiative on behalf of The Pew Charitable Trusts, of the growing body of science regarding the migration of western North America’s populations of mule deer, elk, pronghorn, and other ungulate species and identifies the most substantive threats to migrating wildlife.

The Pew Charitable Trusts

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7. Exploding carp numbers are ‘like a house of horrors’ for our rivers. Is it time to unleash carp herpes?

With widespread La Niña flooding in the Murray-Darling Basin, common carp (Cyprinus carpio) populations are having a boom year. Videos of writhing masses of both adult and young fish illustrate that all is not well in our rivers. Carp now account for up to 90% of live fish mass in some rivers. Concerned communities are wondering whether it is, at last, time for Australia to unleash the carp herpes virus to control populations – but the conversation among scientists, conservationists, communities and government bodies is only just beginning. Globally, the carp virus has been detected in more than 30 countries but never in Australia. There are valid concerns to any future Australian release, including cleaning up dead carp, and potential significant reductions of water quality and native fish. As river scientists and native fish lovers, let’s weigh the benefits of releasing the virus against the risks, set within a context of a greater vision of river recovery.
Exploding carp numbers are ‘like a house of horrors’ for our rivers. Is it time to unleash carp herpes? (theconversation.com)

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8. Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections

In 2015, investigative journalists discovered internal company memos indicating that Exxon oil company has known since the late 1970s that its fossil fuel products could lead to global warming with “dramatic environmental effects before the year 2050.” Additional documents then emerged showing that the US oil and gas industry’s largest trade association had likewise known since at least the 1950s, as had the coal industry since at least the 1960s, and electric utilities, Total oil company, and GM and Ford motor companies since at least the 1970s. Scholars and journalists have analyzed the texts contained in these documents, providing qualitative accounts of fossil fuel interests’ knowledge of climate science and its implications. In 2017, for instance, we demonstrated that Exxon’s internal documents, as well as peer-reviewed studies published by Exxon and ExxonMobil Corp scientists, overwhelmingly acknowledged that climate change is real and human-caused. By contrast, the majority of Mobil and ExxonMobil Corp’s public communications promoted doubt on the matter.

Assessing ExxonMobil’s global warming projections | Science

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/ and press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt or the Global Water Forum on @GWFWater

Dbytes #556 (18 January 2023)

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


“We’re in a war!” proclaimed New York’s Governor, Kathy Hochul, during her Xmas day emergency news conference. “We’re at war with Mother Nature, and she’s been hitting us with everything she has.”
[and see item 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Transforming Conservation, A Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making
2. Biodiversity breakthrough or time to stop global environmental meetings altogether?
3. The first casualty – do we really want a war with Mother Nature?
4. The Anti-Shark Exhibit at the Australian Museum
5. Normalise the ‘wanting to quit’ feels in academia
6. Towards a transformative governance of the Amazon
7. Assessing the impact of referred actions on protected matters under Australia’s national environmental legislation


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1. Transforming Conservation, A Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making
Edited by William Sutherland, Open Book Publishers
Free to read online or download pdf or buy hard copy.
There are severe problems with the decision-making processes currently widely used, leading to ineffective use of evidence, faulty decisions, wasting of resources and the erosion of public and political support. In this book an international team of experts provide solutions.

Transforming Conservation: A Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making | Open Book Publishers

And see Bill Sutherland’s blog on the book and evidence based decision making here
Transforming Conservation: A Practical Guide to Evidence and Decision Making (wordpress.com)

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2. Biodiversity breakthrough or time to stop global environmental meetings altogether?

The big biodiversity conference in Montreal from 7-19 December was described as the event that will decide on the ‘fate of the entire living world’. Its outcome to protect 30% of the planet by 2030 is regarded by some as ‘historic’, but in reality promotes more business-as-usual. Have global environmental meetings reached the end of their usefulness? Or is hanging on to them worth it in the face of worsening environmental crises?

Biodiversity breakthrough or time to stop global environmental meetings altogether? – Undisciplined Environments

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3. The first casualty – do we really want a war with Mother Nature?

Our world is sinking; climate disruption is unpicking the very fabric of humanity’s identity; our belief in a future with certainty is withering. In response, people are calling for action, big action, revolutionary responses as only occur in a time of war, and the calls are growing more strident and desperate. But be careful about what you wish for. In war, society’s norms are thrown out the window. Truth is no longer regulated by our institutions, chaos reigns.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2023/01/17/the-first-casualty-do-we-really-want-a-war-with-mother-nature/

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4. The Anti-Shark Exhibit at the Australian Museum

“Never before have I seen a shark exhibit do so much damage to so many sharks in so casual a manner. The public is misinformed by this show, which is wrapped in pseudo-science from actual scientists. The flaws are many, but the fact is that the Australian Museum has put together one of the scariest exhibits on sharks in the past 20 years.”
Chris Pepin-Neff

https://pepin-neff.medium.com/review-the-anti-shark-exhibit-at-the-australian-museum-7572c217c14

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5. Normalise the ‘wanting to quit’ feels in academia

Manu Saunders: “We don’t talk enough about thinking about quitting academia. We tend to focus on the two extremes, the success stories in academia vs the reasons many people quit. But what about the more common middle ground?”

Normalise the ‘wanting to quit’ feels in academia – Ecology is not a dirty word

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6. Towards a transformative governance of the Amazon
Joana Castro Pereira & João Terrenas, Global Policy

The crises of the Anthropocene can neither be confronted incrementally nor through short-term, reductionist strategies. As the risk of severe, irreversible socioecological damage increases, transformative change towards achieving long-term sustainability becomes ever-pressing. Against this backdrop, we explore how transformative governance can help strengthen ecosystem resilience, empower vulnerable communities and ensure sustainable development in the Amazon. The article starts by briefly reviewing the concept of transformative governance, arguing that it provides an adequate framework for thinking about and responding to the challenges of the Anthropocene. It then looks at how extant governance practices are destroying and fragmenting the Amazon, eroding the resilience of regional ecosystems. It proceeds by investigating how the Andes–Amazon–Atlantic Corridor, a transnational project aligned with the normative commitments and operational principles of transformative governance, aimed at protecting, restoring and building socioecological connectivity in the region, can offer an alternative pathway for Amazonian development in the new geological epoch.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1758-5899.13163

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7. Assessing the impact of referred actions on protected matters under Australia’s national environmental legislation

The authors examine the vegetation loss that is referred to the Australian Government under the EPBC Act for consideration. They compared the threatened species, migratory species and ecological community habitat loss that occurs under “controlled action” and “not controlled action” determinations. Contrary to expectations, no significant difference could be found between the amount of habitat removed on average under the two referral types, after applying an index that considers the number of species impacted and the proportion of their ranges. The work highlights the importance of considering cumulative impacts and the need for quantitative thresholds when determining if a significant impact is likely.

https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/csp2.12860

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/ and press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt or the Global Water Forum on @GWFWater

Dbytes #555 (22 December 2022)

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


“Through examining the drivers of biodiversity loss in highly biodiverse countries, we show that it is not population driving the loss of habitats, but rather the growth of commodities for export, particularly soybean and oil-palm, primarily for livestock feed or biofuel consumption in higher income economies. Thus, inequitable consumption drives global biodiversity loss, whilst population is used to scapegoat responsibility.”
Hughes et al, 2023 [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Threat-abatement framework confirms habitat retention and invasive species management are critical to conserve Australia’s threatened species
2. Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation
3. Fusion energy, if you look too close… you’ll go blind – miracle technology or miserable mirage?
4. Nature tech: the next big green finance growth area
5. Australia’s carbon sequestration potential
6. Australian Government has joined the Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance
7. The consumer experience of green claims in Australia

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1. Threat-abatement framework confirms habitat retention and invasive species management are critical to conserve Australia’s threatened species

Threat classifications need complementary conservation responses to inform action. We develop a threat-abatement framework and apply it to Australian threatened species. The most important conservation action in Australia is to retain and restore habitat. Control of invasive species/diseases and improved fire management are also important. Greater emphasis on conservation responses is needed to redress the extinction crisis.

Threat-abatement framework confirms habitat retention and invasive species management are critical to conserve Australia’s threatened species – ScienceDirect

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2. Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation

Population is often mistakenly blamed as the main driver of biodiversity loss. However such arguments actually mis-apportion blame and hinder progress. Consumption patterns, largely from developed economies is a major driver of biodiversity loss. Maintaining global biodiversity will require reducing imported impacts. Sustainable supply chains and diets are crucial to counter current trends.

Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation – ScienceDirect

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3. Fusion energy, if you look too close… you’ll go blind – miracle technology or miserable mirage?

Even if fusion power was a reality in 20 years, it is not a solution we should be prioritizing. Climate disruption is with us today and already tearing apart the fabric of our society. We don’t have 20 years; we need to transition away from carbon-intensive energy now. To prioritize the ultra-expensive, highly risky idea of fusion energy as our salvation is really just one more form of climate denialism – we don’t need to change our ways because tomorrow’s technology will save us, so keep on consuming and polluting.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/12/21/fusion-energy-if-you-look-too-close-youll-go-blind-miracle-technology-or-miserable-mirage/

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4. Nature tech: the next big green finance growth area

Research tells us that nature can be one third of the climate solution required by 2030, if we are to meet the Paris Agreement goals. It is scalable, affordable and available now. Nature-based solutions (NbS) include green roofs, rain gardens, or constructed wetlands. They can minimize damaging runoff by absorbing stormwater, reducing flood risks and protecting fresh water supplies. Nature based solutions also include regenerative agriculture, tree planting, protecting forests and mangroves and seagrass, in fact any use of natural features and processes that help to tackle social and environmental challenges.

Nature tech: the next big green finance growth area – The Fifth Estate

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5. Australia’s carbon sequestration potential

An assessment of 12 carbon sequestration technologies for capturing and storing carbon dioxide and the role they could play in Australia’s decarbonisation pathway. The report, prepared for the Climate Change Authority (Authority) and Clean Energy Regulator, found that nature-based approaches such as permanent plantings, plantation and farm forestry, and soil carbon have considerable sequestration potential. Engineered technologies such as mineral carbonation and direct air capture, which will become increasingly important for drawing down atmospheric carbon, have significant potential but high costs and require further research and development. The report will inform the Authority’s advice to government on the role of carbon sequestration in supporting increasingly ambitious emissions reduction targets.

New CSIRO report assesses Australia’s carbon sequestration potential – CSIRO

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6. Australian Government has joined the Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance

The Australian Government has joined the Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance to promote sustainable mining and supply chain practices through environmental, social and governance standards as countries transition to net zero. The Alliance is led by Canada, with other founding members including France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The voluntary alliance commits members to developing critical minerals industries that are nature-positive, support and respect local and Indigenous communities, restore ecosystems, build a circular economy, and foster ethical corporate practices.

Australia joins global commitment to ESG for critical minerals | Ministers for the Department of Industry, Science and Resources

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7. The consumer experience of green claims in Australia

At least half of Australian consumers are worried that claims about the green or sustainability features of a product are not true, according to a new report by the Consumer Policy Research Centre called “The consumer experience of green claims in Australia”. The report investigated the kind of green claims used, how often consumers see such claims, and their influence on consumers’ purchase decisions. Research found a sample of 122 green claims observed within 24 hours found that only 39 claims (31 per cent) had supporting evidence or verification. Nearly half of consumers said they would stop buying from a business found to have engaged in greenwashing.

The consumer experience of green claims in Australia – CPRC

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/ and press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #554 (15 December 2022)

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


“Not one of over 1200 computer simulations provides a reasonable chance of global warming being under 1.5oC in 2100.”
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Rewilding should be central to global restoration efforts
2.
New ‘Big Agenda’ for Nature faces many hurdles
3. The biodiversity crisis in numbers – a visual guide
4. Climate change: concern, behaviour and the six Australias
5. Three-year weather bill reaches $12.3 billion
6. Five key drivers of the nature crisis
7. How pastoral farming can help to avoid a biodiversity crisis

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1. Rewilding should be central to global restoration efforts

Rewilding should be central to the massive restoration efforts needed to overcome the global biodiversity crisis and enhancing the biosphere’s capacity to mitigate climate change. Key elements include large areas for nature, restoration of functional megafaunas and other natural biodiversity-promoting factors, synergy with major societal dynamics, and careful socio-ecological implementation.

https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(20)30604-7

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2. New ‘Big Agenda’ for Nature faces many hurdles

The Albanese Government’s ‘Nature Positive Plan’ announced last week is a much-anticipated response to Professor Graeme Samuel’s 2020 Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. The plan is packed with policy announcements, most of which stick close to Samuel’s recommendations. But the path of this big agenda stretches far over the political horizon and is littered with hurdles. Here are ten hurdles the minister will have to jump, just for starters.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/12/15/new-big-agenda-for-nature-faces-many-hurdles/

To see the Government’s plan for reforming our national environmental plan, see
Nature positive plan: better for the environment, better for business

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3. The biodiversity crisis in numbers – a visual guide

Changes in land and sea use, exploitation of natural resources, global heating, pollution and the spread of invasive species are the five main drivers of this loss of life, according to leading UN experts. One of the best sources about the decline of biodiversity is the Living Planet Index, a metric developed by researchers at the WWF and the Zoological Society of London to measure the abundance of animal life. It is made up of datasets from about 32,000 populations of 5,230 animal species. When populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles increase, so does the index. The opposite happens when populations decline.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/dec/06/the-biodiversity-crisis-in-numbers-a-visual-guide-aoe

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4. Climate change: concern, behaviour and the six Australias

The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH) conducted a survey to better understand Australians’ climate change attitudes and behaviours, and whether these have changed over time. The survey included a range of questions relating to climate change behaviour, extreme weather events, policy, trust and voter perceptions. This report details the climate change concern and private and civic behaviours of the survey’s 3098 participants. Private behaviours centred around three themes: purchasing, fuel and energy, and waste. Civic behaviours related to engaging with politics, government and environmental groups and events. Demographic data was also collected to understand the relationship of respondents’ age, gender and finances with certain environmental behaviours.

Climate change: concern, behaviour and the six Australias (apo.org.au)

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5. Three-year weather bill reaches $12.3 billion

Since January 2020 almost 788,000 claims related to floods and storms declared Insurance Catastrophes or Significant Events have been received by insurers, meaning that in just three years one in 25 adult Australians has made an insurance claim because of this wild and wet weather. The cost of this year’s February-March floods has now reached more than $5.65 billion, surpassing the 1999 Sydney hailstorm in cost and making it the most expensive natural disaster in Australia’s history. The February-March floods have seen more than 237,000 claims lodged, and insurers have now paid out $3.54 billion and closed 69 per cent of claims from this event. The July severe weather that inundated parts of western Sydney and surrounds has resulted in almost 22,000 claims at a cost of $244 million.

Three-year weather bill reaches $12.3 billion – Insurance Council of Australia

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6. Five key drivers of the nature crisis

We look at the top five drivers of nature loss, identified by the recent Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report.

5 key drivers of the nature crisis (unep.org)

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7. How pastoral farming can help to avoid a biodiversity crisis

Participants are expected to adopt a global framework that sets out measures to safeguard biodiversity. One approach is to conserve 30% of the world’s land and sea area through protected areas and other conservation measures in areas of limited human activity. Some campaigners are calling for this target to be met by the end of the decade. But much of the land set aside for protection is occupied by indigenous people who may be excluded or displaced. Mobile pastoral farmers are one such group. Millions of pastoralists graze livestock across a variety of environments worldwide. Case studies from around the world indicate that including pastoral communities in conservation initiatives can help to address the tensions that emerge around protected areas, while improving biodiversity.

https://theconversation.com/how-pastoral-farming-can-help-to-avoid-a-biodiversity-crisis-195274

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/ and press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #553 (6 December 2022)

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


“There are three times as many threatened species on the edges of our suburbs compared to rural areas, so they are disproportionately important areas. There’s less than 1 per cent of the Victorian Volcanic Plains grasslands left, Sydney’s biodiverse Cumberland Plains Woodland is disappearing and in Greater Brisbane, 98 per cent of vegetation is threatened and expansion there just continues unabated.”
Sarah Bekessy [see item 5]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Finalising the post-2020 global biodiversity framework at COP15: a quick guide
2. Towards conservation and recovery of Victoria’s biodiversity – a report for changemakers
3. The fifth and final transformation: Restoring trust in decision-making
4. Mapping the planet’s critical natural assets
5. Will Australia’s cities continue to expand indefinitely?
6. Last week, a NSW court jailed me for 15 months for a peaceful climate protest. Hear my story
7. It’s natural to want to feed wildlife after disasters. But it may not help
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1. Finalising the post-2020 global biodiversity framework at COP15: a quick guide

This excellent briefing, prepared by the Parliamentary Library, is what is offered to the pollies as a backgrounder on this process.

“At Part Two of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to be held in Montreal, Canada, from 7 to 19 December 2022, Parties will seek to finalise the 10-year post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF).”

8907660.pdf (aph.gov.au)

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2. Towards conservation and recovery of Victoria’s biodiversity – a report for changemakers

This report and position paper from the Royal Society of Victoria (RSV) is released in the context of a new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework being negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The framework will define targets and pathways for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for the next decade and beyond. Since early 2019, consultation workshops and meetings involving all stakeholders have been organised at the national, regional, and global levels before its planned adoption at the resumed session of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15), scheduled for 7–19 December 2022 in Montreal, Canada.

Towards Conservation & Recovery of Victoria’s Biodiversity – Report for Changemakers – The Royal Society of Victoria (rsv.org.au)

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3. The fifth and final transformation: Restoring trust in decision-making

One of the main findings of the Samuel Review of the EPBC Act was that it was not trusted, either by business nor by the wider community. Restoring trust requires a fundamental shift from process-based decision-making to outcome-based decisions. This requires standards supported by regional plans and stronger institutions, including information systems and compliance regimes. At the end of the day, people will only trust environmental laws that truly protect and conserve the environment.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/12/05/the-fifth-and-final-transformation-restoring-trust-in-decision-making/

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4. Mapping the planet’s critical natural assets

Sustaining the organisms, ecosystems and processes that underpin human wellbeing is necessary to achieve sustainable development. Here we define critical natural assets as the natural and semi-natural ecosystems that provide 90% of the total current magnitude of 14 types of nature’s contributions to people (NCP), and we map the global locations of these critical natural assets at 2 km resolution. Critical natural assets for maintaining local-scale NCP (12 of the 14 NCP) account for 30% of total global land area and 24% of national territorial waters, while 44% of land area is required to also maintain two global-scale NCP (carbon storage and moisture recycling). These areas overlap substantially with cultural diversity (areas containing 96% of global languages) and biodiversity (covering area requirements for 73% of birds and 66% of mammals). At least 87% of the world’s population live in the areas benefitting from critical natural assets for local-scale NCP, while only 16% live on the lands containing these assets. Many of the NCP mapped here are left out of international agreements focused on conserving species or mitigating climate change, yet this analysis shows that explicitly prioritizing critical natural assets and the NCP they provide could simultaneously advance development, climate and conservation goals.

Mapping the planet’s critical natural assets | Nature Ecology & Evolution

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5. Will Australia’s cities continue to expand indefinitely?

As Australia’s cities continue to grow outwards, the frictions between urban expansion and the encroachment upon native bushland and the environment have perhaps never been so precariously.

https://www.apimagazine.com.au/news/article/will-australias-cities-continue-to-expand-indefinitely

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6. Last week, a NSW court jailed me for 15 months for a peaceful climate protest. Hear my story

Violet Coco: “If you are reading this, then I have been sentenced to prison for peaceful environmental protest. I do not want to break the law. But when regular political procedure has proven incapable of enacting justice, it falls to ordinary people taking a stand to bring about change.”

Last week, a NSW court jailed me for 15 months for a peaceful climate protest. Hear my story – Pearls and Irritations (johnmenadue.com)

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7. It’s natural to want to feed wildlife after disasters. But it may not help

Think of the photos of thirsty koalas during the Black Summer fires, or the flood-hit mud-covered kangaroo. These images bring the hurt home to us in a way words can’t. It’s no surprise many of us have felt compelled to try and help these animals, offering food, water and shelter to try to help them survive. We celebrate when a flood-affected koala is returned to the wild. But it’s worth taking a look at whether our instinctive responses actually do what we hope. Unfortunately, there’s little scientific evidence these efforts help on a broad scale. It may help the animal in front of you – but the evidence is mixed on a species or ecosystem front. Sometimes, it can cause worse outcomes.

It’s natural to want to feed wildlife after disasters. But it may not help (theconversation.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/ and press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #552 (30 November 2022)

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


“In the last 10 years, things have gone fundamentally awry. Rates of global hunger, numbers of migrants forced to move within countries and across borders, levels of political authoritarianism, violations of human rights and the occurrence of violent demonstrations and ongoing conflict — these measures of harm are all up, and in some cases by a lot. At the same time, the average human life expectancy dropped to 70.96 years in 2021, from an estimated 72.6 years in 2019, the first decline since the United Nations began tabulating such data in 1950.”
Thomas Homer Dixon [see item 2]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. National Ocean Accounts 2022
2. What Happens When a Cascade of Crises Collide?
3. Laying new foundations for environmental decisions: the fourth transformation
4. ‘Tangled mess of inaction’: hundreds of threatened species recovery plans expiring in next six months
5. Incorporating human behaviour into Earth system modelling
6. Community perceptions of carbon farming: A case study of the semi-arid Mulga Lands in Queensland, Australia
7. Scientists need help to save nature. With a smartphone and these 8 tips, we can get our kids on the case


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1. National Ocean Accounts 2022

Saltmarsh stored over 275 million tonnes of carbon in 2021, with carbon stores mostly held in the tropical regions of Queensland and the Northern Territory. This ecosystem has provided crucial protection services to over 150,000 people, safeguarding them from natural hazards such as storm surge associated flooding. With mangrove ecosystems also included, over 280,000 people are protected.
The publication [National Ocean Account] also highlighted the extent of saltmarsh and intertidal seagrass ecosystems, with approximately 388,000 hectares of intertidal seagrass existing across Australia in 2020.

Australia’s saltmarsh ecosystems provided protection to thousands | Australian Bureau of Statistics (abs.gov.au)

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2. What Happens When a Cascade of Crises Collide?

It seems as if the world is encountering a “perfect storm” of simultaneous crises: The coronavirus pandemic is approaching the end of its third year, the war in Ukraine is threatening to go nuclear, extreme climate events are afflicting North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, inflation is reaching rates unseen in decades and authoritarianism is on the march around the world. But the storm metaphor implies that this simultaneity is an unfortunate and temporary coincidence — that it’s humanity’s bad luck that everything seems to be going haywire all at once. In reality, the likelihood that the current mess is a coincidence is vanishingly small. We’re almost certainly confronting something far more persistent and dangerous. We can see the crises of the moment, but we’re substantially blind to the hidden processes by which those crises worsen one another — and to the true dangers that may be enveloping us all.

What Happens When a Cascade of Crises Collide? • Thomas Homer-Dixon (homerdixon.com)

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3. Laying new foundations for environmental decisions: the fourth transformation

The consequences of Australia’s long-term underfunding of our national environmental law, compounded in some cases by lack of political vision or will, are that many of the foundations of the current system of environmental protection and conservation provided for by the EPBC Act are either significantly under-done, or not done at all.

Although Tanya Plibersek has spoken +ve about implementing the Samuel reforms, there remains a significant risk that this government will repeat the mistake of the Howard government by enacting laws that are strong on paper but weak in practice.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/30/laying-new-foundations-for-environmental-decisions-the-fourth-transformation/

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4. ‘Tangled mess of inaction’: hundreds of threatened species recovery plans expiring in next six months

Hundreds of plans for the recovery of threatened species will reach their use-by date in the next six months as the government considers how to reform Australia’s flawed system of environmental protections. Documents released to Guardian Australia under freedom of information laws detail how underresourcing, disagreement with state governments, and the growing list of species threatened with extinction have constrained the federal environment department’s ability to get on top of a backlog of conservation work. Environment groups said the material showed a “tangled mess of inaction” over the past decade and failure by past governments to update recovery plans every five years as required under national laws.

‘Tangled mess of inaction’: hundreds of threatened species recovery plans expiring in next six months | Endangered species | The Guardian

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5. Incorporating human behaviour into Earth system modelling

Climate change and other challenges to the stability and functioning of natural and managed environmental systems are driven by increasing anthropogenic domination of the Earth. Models to forecast the trajectory of climate change and to identify pathways to sustainability require representation of human behaviour and its feedbacks with the climate system. Social climate models (SCMs) are an emerging class of models that embed human behaviour in climate models. We survey existing SCMs and make recommendations for how to integrate models of human behaviour and climate. We suggest a framework for representing human behaviour that consists of cognition, contagion and a behavioural response. Cognition represents the human processing of information around climate change; contagion represents the spread of information, beliefs and behaviour through social networks; and response is the resultant behaviour or action. This framework allows for biases, habituation and other cognitive processes that shape human perception of climate change as well as the influence of social norms, social learning and other social processes on the spread of information and factors that shape decision-making and behaviour. SCMs move beyond the inclusion of human activities in climate models to the representation of human behaviour that determines the magnitude, sign and character of these activities. The development of SCMs is a challenging but important next step in the evolution of Earth system models.

Incorporating human behaviour into Earth system modelling | Nature Human Behaviour

-~<>~-

6. Community perceptions of carbon farming: A case study of the semi-arid Mulga Lands in Queensland, Australia

Carbon farming can provide economic benefits to rural landholders. Economic incentives motivated adoption in the Mulga lands, despite community concerns. A mismatch in normative expectations and carbon farming has led to negative community impacts. There is mistrust and uncertainty around carbon farming in the Mulga Lands. Policy and planning should seek to manage carbon farming land use transitions.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0743016722002479?via%3Dihub

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7. Scientists need help to save nature. With a smartphone and these 8 tips, we can get our kids on the case

Citizen science is touted as a way for the general public to contribute to producing new knowledge. But citizen science volunteers don’t always represent a broad cross-section of society. Rather, they’re often white, male, middle-aged, educated and already interested in science. This lack of representation has several problems. It can undermine the potential of citizen science to bridge the divide between lay people and experts. It also means fewer people benefit from the chance to advance their informal science education and gain valuable life skills.

https://theconversation.com/scientists-need-help-to-save-nature-with-a-smartphone-and-these-8-tips-we-can-get-our-kids-on-the-case-192622

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/ and press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #551 (23 November 2022)

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


“These researchers say that we should be studying both the science and the governance of solar geoengineering, with a focus on two questions: what would happen if we put particles into the stratosphere, and who would make the call?”
Bill McKibben [see item 3]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Flaws in Australia’s carbon credits schemes undermine transparency, new report finds
2. A connection with tomorrow’s citizens – calling for a Ministry for the Future
3. Dimming the Sun to Cool the Planet Is a Desperate Idea, Yet We’re Inching Toward It
4. BOM and the CSIRO State of the Climate 2022 report shows warming trends continue
5. The role of incentive mechanisms in promoting forest restoration
6. A toolkit for understanding and addressing climate scepticism
7. COP27: one big breakthrough but ultimately an inadequate response to the climate crisis

-~<>~-

1. Flaws in Australia’s carbon credits schemes undermine transparency, new report finds

Criticisms raised by a whistleblower who called Australia’s carbon credits “largely a sham” have been supported in a new report commissioned by the Albanese government. The study by the Australian Academy of Science, requested by the independent Chubb review, examined strengths and limitations of four methods used to generate Australian carbon credit units by reducing or avoiding emissions.

Flaws in Australia’s carbon credits schemes undermine transparency, new report finds | Australia news | The Guardian

-~<>~-

2. A connection with tomorrow’s citizens – calling for a Ministry for the Future

The boldest and most fundamental change being proposed in the book The Ministry for the Future is a combination of economics, technology and innovations in governance that, when combined, gave reason for people to invest in their future. For surely, that is the real challenge of our times. It seems unprecedented climate disruption, with the certain prospect of greater disruption with every passing year, is not enough for us to make this important shift.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/23/a-connection-with-tomorrows-citizens-calling-for-a-ministry-for-the-future/

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3. Dimming the Sun to Cool the Planet Is a Desperate Idea, Yet We’re Inching Toward It

The scientists who study solar geoengineering don’t want anyone to try it. But climate inaction is making it more likely.

Dimming the Sun to Cool the Planet Is a Desperate Idea, Yet We’re Inching Toward It | The New Yorker

-~<>~-

4. BOM and the CSIRO State of the Climate 2022 report shows warming trends continue

National and global temperatures continue to rise despite the COVID-induced blip in emissions. Australia’s climate has now warmed by about 1.5 degrees Celsius since national records began in 1910. There has been abundant rain in the south-east this year but long-term trends towards wet season drying in southern Australia remain.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-23/state-of-the-climate-report-2022-bom-csiro/101683628

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5. The role of incentive mechanisms in promoting forest restoration

The authors conducted a systematic literature review to investigate how incentive mechanisms are used to promote forest restoration, outcomes, and the biophysical and socio-economic factors that influence implementation and program success. They found that socio-economic factors such as governance, monitoring systems and the experience and beliefs of participants dominate whether or not an incentive mechanism is successful. They found further that approximately half of the studies report both positive ecological and socio-economic outcomes. However, reported adverse outcomes were more commonly socio-economic than ecological. The results reveal that achieving forest restoration at a sufficient scale to meet international commitments will require stronger assessment and management of socioeconomic factors that enable or constrain the success of incentive mechanisms.

The role of incentive mechanisms in promoting forest restoration | Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (royalsocietypublishing.org)

-~<>~-

6. A toolkit for understanding and addressing climate scepticism

Despite over 50 years of messaging about the reality of human-caused climate change, substantial portions of the population remain sceptical. Furthermore, many sceptics remain unmoved by standard science communication strategies, such as myth busting and evidence building. To understand this, we examine psychological and structural reasons why climate change misinformation is prevalent. First, we review research on motivated reasoning: how interpretations of climate science are shaped by vested interests and ideologies. Second, we examine climate scepticism as a form of political followership. Third, we examine infrastructures of disinformation: the funding, lobbying and political operatives that lend climate scepticism its power. Guiding this Review are two principles: (1) to understand scepticism, one must account for the interplay between individual psychologies and structural forces; and (2) global data are required to understand this global problem. In the spirit of optimism, we finish by describing six strategies for reducing the destructive influence of climate scepticism.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-022-01463-y

-~<>~-

7. COP27: one big breakthrough but ultimately an inadequate response to the climate crisis

For 30 years, developing nations have fought to establish an international fund to pay for the “loss and damage” they suffer as a result of climate change. As the COP27 climate summit in Egypt wrapped up over the weekend, they finally succeeded. While it’s a historic moment, the agreement of loss and damage financing left many details yet to be sorted out. What’s more, many critics have lamented the overall outcome of COP27, saying it falls well short of a sufficient response to the climate crisis.

https://theconversation.com/cop27-one-big-breakthrough-but-ultimately-an-inadequate-response-to-the-climate-crisis-194056

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/ and press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #550 (16 November 2022)

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


“the G-20 allocated $3.2 trillion in fossil-fuel support over 2016-20. This quite substantial sum distorted prices, encouraged potentially wasteful use and production of fossil fuels, and resulted in investment into long-lived, emission-intensive equipment and infrastructure”
Climate Policy Factbook: COP27 Edition, Bloomberg NEF


In this issue of Dbytes

1. You are now one of 8 billion humans alive today. Let’s talk overpopulation – and why low income countries aren’t the issue
2. It’s ‘business as usual’, but at least there actually is plenty of business – Senate Budget Estimates November 2022
3. State of the Cryosphere 2022
4. Wins and missed opportunities from the Federal Budget 2022/23
5. As the planet warms, risks of geoengineering the climate mount
6. Ten Essential Climate Science Insights for 2022 presented at COP27 [from the WMO]
7. Climate of the nation 2022

-~<>~-

1. You are now one of 8 billion humans alive today. Let’s talk overpopulation – and why low income countries aren’t the issue

Today is the Day of Eight Billion, according to the United Nations. That’s an incredible number of humans, considering our population was around 2.5 billion in 1950. Watching our numbers tick over milestones can provoke anxiety. Do we have enough food? What does this mean for nature? Are more humans a catastrophe for climate change? The answers are counterintuitive. Because rich countries use vastly more resources and energy, greening and reducing consumption in these countries is more effective and equitable than calling for population control in low income nations. Fertility rates in most of the world have fallen sharply. As countries get richer, they tend to have fewer children. We can choose to adequately and equitably feed a population of 10 billion by 2050 – even as we reduce or eliminate global greenhouse gas emissions and staunch biodiversity loss.

You are now one of 8 billion humans alive today. Let’s talk overpopulation – and why low income countries aren’t the issue (theconversation.com)

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2. It’s ‘business as usual’, but at least there actually is plenty of business – Senate Budget Estimates November 2022

Australia’s environment department has been run down over the past decade. This month’s Estimate hearings reveals that the new Labor Government is putting extra resources towards environmental management. What does that mean? In terms of Indigenous heritage protection it’s a rare example of good news in the environment portfolio. In terms of biodiversity, the new government has made a small down payment, but on a veritable mountain of environmental debt.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/16/its-business-as-usual-but-at-least-there-actually-is-plenty-of-business/

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3. State of the Cryosphere 2022

“We cannot negotiate with the melting point of ice.”
The complete loss of Arctic summer sea-ice is now inevitable, even in the lowest emission pathways that see temperatures peaking at 1.6oC

State of the Cryosphere Report 2022 – ICCI – International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (iccinet.org)

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4. Wins and missed opportunities from the Federal Budget 2022/23

Since the Federal Budget dropped in late October, ACF has been busy investigating how the Albanese Government’s first budget stacks up against its election campaign commitments. The good news is the federal budget has backed up some significant nature and climate commitments with the resources needed to deliver them. The bad news is there’s some big, missed opportunities including continuing publicly funded subsidies for gas and other fossil fuel corporations.

Wins and missed opportunities from the Federal Budget 2022/23 – Australian Conservation Foundation (acf.org.au)

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5. As the planet warms, risks of geoengineering the climate mount

Because a climate-disrupted future remains possible, another danger needs our attention. As the impacts of warming become more extreme, countries are more likely to turn to riskier measures to combat them, including geoengineering. Geoengineering can entail modifying local weather conditions (such as seeding clouds to change rainfall), removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (separating it out and storing it) or managing solar radiation (reducing the amount of sunlight that can get trapped as heat in the atmosphere). These options have been discussed in climate circles for many years—at various times considered a last resort, a moral hazard that could delay decarbonisation of economies, or generally a dystopian nightmare.

As the planet warms, risks of geoengineering the climate mount | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au)

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6. Ten Essential Climate Science Insights for 2022 presented at COP27 [from the WMO]

1. Questioning the myth of endless adaptation
2. Vulnerability hotspots cluster in ‘regions at risk’
3. New threats on the horizon from climate-health interactions
4. Climate mobility: From evidence to anticipatory action
5. Human security requires climate security
6. Sustainable land use is essential to meeting climate targets
7. Private sustainable finance practices are failing to catalyse deep transitions
8. Loss and Damage: The urgent planetary imperative
9. Inclusive decision-making for climate-resilient development
10. Breaking down structural barriers and unsustainable lock-ins

Ten Essential Climate Science Insights for 2022 presented at COP27 | World Meteorological Organization (wmo.int)

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7. Climate of the nation 2022

Tracking Australia’s attitudes towards climate change and energy

Climate of the nation 2022 (apo.org.au)

-~<>~-


David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #549 (9 November 2022)

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


“So why, in the 45 years since, has there been so little action in response? Why do we condemn today’s children and future generations to live on a dangerous and hostile planet?…
…The answer, we argue, rests on a prevailing assumption organised by corporate and political elites: that endless economic growth fuelled by fossil energy is so fundamental and commonsensical it cannot be questioned.”
Christopher Wright et al,
The Conversation

In this issue of Dbytes

1. The Acclimatisation Society was driven by misguided ideals about ‘fixing nature’ in Australia
2. A resilient world is built on humility
3. Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points
4. WMO and WHO launch ClimaHealth portal
5. Academia on social media
6. Unfinished business: Market-based instruments under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act
7. ‘8 Billion Day’ is on 15 November 2022: Briefing Note

-~<>~-

1. The Acclimatisation Society was driven by misguided ideals about ‘fixing nature’ in Australia

his year’s State of the Environment report showed there are now more foreign plant species in Australia than native ones. Worse, the number of threatened animals has risen eight per cent since 2016, the report said, with more extinctions expected. So how did Australia get here? Climate change and habitat loss have played a huge role in the problem. So have invasive species. Closely connected to their proliferation in Australia is a group called the Acclimatisation Society.It was a gathering of white settlers who wanted nature’s bounty to thrive in Australia.The problem is it did. Far too much.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-04/acclimatisation-society-introduced-species-history-listen/101588262

-~<>~-

2. A resilient world is built on humility

A resilient world would acknowledge our dependence on the ecosystems that support us, allow us to appreciate the limits of our mastery, accept we have much to learn, and ensure our people are well educated about resilience and our interconnection with the biosphere.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/08/a-resilient-world-is-built-on-humility/

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3. Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points

Climate tipping points are conditions beyond which changes in a part of the climate system become self-perpetuating. These changes may lead to abrupt, irreversible, and dangerous impacts with serious implications for humanity. Armstrong McKay et al. present an updated assessment of the most important climate tipping elements and their potential tipping points, including their temperature thresholds, time scales, and impacts. Their analysis indicates that even global warming of 1°C, a threshold that we already have passed, puts us at risk by triggering some tipping points. This finding provides a compelling reason to limit additional warming as much as possible.

Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points | Science

-~<>~-

4. WMO and WHO launch ClimaHealth portal

The first global knowledge platform dedicated to climate and health – ClimaHealth.info – has been launched by the World Meteorological Organization and World Health Organization Joint Office on climate and health, with support from the Wellcome Trust. It is in response to growing calls for actionable information to protect people from the health risks of climate change and other environmental hazards. Climate and health are inextricably linked. Climate change, extreme weather events and environmental degradation have a fundamental impact on human health and well-being. More people than ever before are exposed to increased risk, from poor water and air quality to infectious disease transmission to heat stress.

WMO and WHO launch ClimaHealth portal | World Meteorological Organization

-~<>~-

5. Academia on social media

“Twitter is different. It is outward facing and hyper connected – whenever I felt alone or excluded in my local discipline or institutional networks, I always felt welcomed and connected on Twitter. It helped me grow my blog audience, found me new collaborators and new ideas. It kept me up to date with local and global news and events. I’m an ecologist, but I’m also a person, and Twitter kept me connected with all the communities that I felt connected to, however indirectly – academic twitter, ecology twitter, ag twitter, landcare twitter, insect twitter, nature twitter, Australian twitter, climate twitter, conservation twitter, journalism twitter, writing twitter, politics twitter, history twitter, the list goes on… I feel really sad to see what is happening…I never thought I’d be so emotionally invested in a social media platform!”

Academia on social media – Ecology is not a dirty word

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6. Unfinished business: Market-based instruments under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act

In the first decade of the twenty-first century the Canadian province of Alberta was enjoying vigorous economic and demographic growth. To address concerns with cumulative impacts on the landscape and rising user conflicts the provincial government introduced a policy that articulated the need for regional planning and the greater use of market-based instruments to incent land stewardship. This was followed by enabling legislation called the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA). The policy instruments of conservation easements, conservation offsets, and transfer of development credits were identified as being of special interest and were enabled by ALSA. We review the development of policy for each of these instruments subsequent to the legislation and suggest that implementation has faltered in marked departure from the initial enthusiasm for the policy direction.

Unfinished business: Market-based instruments under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act – ScienceDirect

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7. ‘8 Billion Day’ is on 15 November 2022: Briefing Note

The United Nations predicts 15 November 2022 to be the day that the world population reaches eight billion. To mark this important milestone and to aid well-informed discussion, Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has released a new Briefing Note: “8 Billion Day facts and myths”

https://population.org.au/media-releases/8-billion-day-briefing-note/?twclid=2-6u0juf07v2zamayx0s636b0df

-~<>~-

About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.
Or you could subscribe to the WordPress version by visiting https://ozdbytes.wordpress.com/ and press the follow button.

David Salt
and you can follow me on twitter at
@davidlimesalt

Dbytes #548 (2 November 2022)

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


“In the market for biodiversity offset credits, the prices that buyers are willing to pay are not determined by how much the community cares about protecting or enhancing biodiversity. Instead, they are determined by how much money developers can make from their developments. There could be a big gap between the two.”
David Pannell [see item 1]


1. Biodiversity offset prices and biodiversity values
2. Drivers of global mangrove loss and gain in social-ecological systems
3. Simplicity, harmony and the third transformation of Australia’s environmental law
4. A War Over Feral Horses Has Descended Into Bomb Threats and Right-Wing Conspiracies
5. The government hopes private investors will help save nature. Here’s how its scheme could fail
6. Welcome to the world of the polycrisis
7. Fears of mass predator attacks for Mary River’s endangered ‘bum-breathing’ turtle

-~<>~-

1. Biodiversity offset prices and biodiversity values

Increasingly, governments require developers to buy credits to offset any losses of biodiversity caused by their developments. In some cases, biodiversity offset credits  can be traded in specially created markets. As a result of trade in these credits, we end up with a price being attached to biodiversity. Does that mean that, in some sense, the price of a credit represents the value of biodiversity?

384. Biodiversity offset prices and biodiversity values – Pannell Discussions

-~<>~-

2. Drivers of global mangrove loss and gain in social-ecological systems

Mangrove forests store high amounts of carbon, protect communities from storms, and support fisheries and biodiversity. Approximately a third of mangrove cover has been lost around the world, mainly from human land-use impacts. Identifying priorities for mangrove conservation and restoration in coupled social-ecological systems is necessary to reverse mangrove loss. We reveal that global mangrove losses and gains over the past 20 years can be attributed to socioeconomic and biophysical factors. Access to markets is a strong driver of loss, but economic growth is no longer associated with loss, and can be compatible with mangrove gains. However, there are still hotspots of loss caused by conversion to aquaculture ponds and agriculture, often occurring in protected areas. We also found that community forestry is promoting mangrove gains. Investment in community or collaborative management of mangrove forests are promising strategies for regaining mangrove cover and enforcing protected areas.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33962-x

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3. Simplicity, harmony and the third transformation of Australia’s environmental law

Proposals for regulatory streamlining, and for the alignment of federal and state environmental assessment laws have been floated at various times over the last 30 years. Graeme Samuel’s review recommended a harmonising of both environmental processes and outcomes between federal and state jurisdictions. To do this we need to: Develop national standards; build a risk-based decision-making system; accredit states to take most of the decisions.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/11/01/simplicity-harmony-and-the-third-transformation/

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4. A War Over Feral Horses Has Descended Into Bomb Threats and Right-Wing Conspiracies

Photos of dead horses riddled with bullets, alongside the remains of an aborted foal, have pushed a rural community to the brink of violence.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7vxa3/australian-feral-horses-culture-war?fbclid=IwAR3Un9tMVCZxkYS-1SjpKAcSQrHTXtmgBwA2zaMbi4BTpTWVeQ6jrUgQK8U

-~<>~-

5. The government hopes private investors will help save nature. Here’s how its scheme could fail

This week’s federal budget reiterated the government’s plan to establish a new scheme for encouraging private investment in conservation, called a biodiversity market (now, rebranded to a “nature repair” market). A biodiversity market would see landholders granted certificates for restoring or managing local habitats. Landholders could then sell these certificates to, for instance, businesses. But the effectiveness of such schemes overseas and in Australia can at best be described as mixed.

https://theconversation.com/the-government-hopes-private-investors-will-help-save-nature-heres-how-its-scheme-could-fail-193010

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6. Welcome to the world of the polycrisis

A problem becomes a crisis when it challenges our ability to cope and thus threatens our identity. In the polycrisis the shocks are disparate, but they interact so that the whole is even more overwhelming than the sum of the parts. At times one feels as if one is losing one’s sense of reality. Is the mighty Mississippi really running dry and threatening to cut off the farms of the Midwest from the world economy? Did the January 6 riots really threaten the US Capitol? Are we really on the point of uncoupling the economies of the west from China? Things that would once have seemed fanciful are now facts. 

https://www.ft.com/content/498398e7-11b1-494b-9cd3-6d669dc3de33

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7. Fears of mass predator attacks for Mary River’s endangered ‘bum-breathing’ turtle

Mary River turtles are an endangered species. Thousands of hatchlings have been saved on land. It is now feared they have perished under water due to a predator, possibly the fork-tailed catfish.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-31/endangered-mary-river-turtle-fears-thousands-perished/101586082

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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David Salt
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