Australia Covid live news update: Victoria records 246 new cases; NSW infections expected to rise; Pfizer vaccines arrive from UK | Australia news

A senior UN official has warned the climate crisis will “wreak havoc” across the Australian economy if coal is not rapidly phased out, and joined those explicitly calling for the Morrison government to adopt more ambitious emissions reduction goals.

In a pre-recorded speech to an Australian National University forum to be held on Monday, Selwin Hart, the UN’s assistant secretary general for climate action and special advisor to the secretary general, reiterated calls for OECD countries such as Australia to stop using coal by 2030.

Hart, a former top diplomat and climate official for Barbados, highlighted the extent to which the Morrison government has become isolated by resisting calls to set a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050, but said greater action this decade was just as important.

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Blue-tongue lizards have developed a resistance to the venom of the red-bellied black snake, according to new research.

The largest animals in the skink family, blue-tongues seem to have evolved a chemical resistance to the snake venom, while carnivorous monitor lizards – goannas – that feed on Australia’s venomous snakes have not.

Researchers at the University of Queensland have analysed the effects of seven snake venoms on the blood of two species of blue-tongues – the common blue-tongued skink and the shingleback – and three goanna species, all of which would interact with these snakes in the wild.

In a study published in the journal Toxins, they found the blue-tongues seemed to have evolved a specific blood component – a serum factor – that prevents their blood from clotting when exposed to red-bellied black snake venom.

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