The G20 Summit will be held on 15 and 16 November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Bank. Attending will be up to 4,000 delegates and up to 3,000 domestic and international media representatives. US President Barack Obama, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minster David Cameron will be among 26 world attending. There will be up to 4,000 delegates and up to 3,000 domestic and international media representatives.
The purpose of this summit is to foster economic growth. Yes – a bigger world population, greater production of ‘goods’, greater consumption of ‘goods’ and energy. Supposedly all this is good for business. Climate change will NOT be on the agenda – as it has no connection with the economy. Or does it?
Australia was once a leader in environmental consciousness. We understood that at the basis of a healthy economy was a healthy environment – earth, water, air. It is ironic that Australia should be hosting this international growthfest, under the leadership of Prime Minster Tony Abbott who has absolutely no idea of environment, nor of sustainable economics.
The nuclear connection is an underlying one. The nuclear industry, as shown by its advertisement film “Pandora’s Promise” . depends on the world accepting the need for endless growth and consumption, with ever increasing energy use – supplied by nuclear power. And – make no mistake – the Abbot government, (and its wimpy weak Labor opposition) has bought this idea – or more correctly, have been bought by the polluting industries.
There is a new philosophy emerging – but not from these so-called leaders, – the philosophy of the Conserver Society, as against the Consumer Society . This is well expressed by Frank Rotering in his concept of “Contractionism”
That we cannot go on as a species plagueing the planet, trashing it, and thinking that somehow humans can start it all over again on another planet. There must be a radical change in economic thinking, and as Frank Rotering suggests, this could well be led by business – by real leaders, who see that it makes financial sense to be truly conservative -
It was recently revealed that the French nuclear corporation Areva has been exploring for uranium in the Carpentaria basin in south west Cape York and the north east of the Gulf country for uranium deposits. Areva state that Australia possesses one of the largest uranium reserves in the world and that tens of thousands of hectares are of exploration interest.
Areva already have a track record in Australia. They are the same company that Kakadu Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee refused to allow to mine on his ancestral lands. As the senior Traditional Owner of the Djok clan and senior custodian of Koongarra where uranium was found, Lee decided to never allow mining in the culturally and ecologically sensitive area.
Despite this opposition, Jeffrey Lee endured years of pressure to allow mining in the former Koongarra Project Area, long excluded from the surrounding Kakadu National Park and World Heritage area.
Turning his back on personal wealth, Lee chose to prioritise country and culture over cash stating; “I could have been a rich man. Billions of dollars… You can offer me anything but my land is cultural land.”
Only last year did the threat of uranium mining on Jeffrey’s country get laid to rest with the area finally and formally added to Kakadu. With the right to veto mining afforded to Traditional Owners in the Northern Territory under the Land Rights (NT) Act 1976, Mr Lee had the legal power to say no. Fortunately for all Australian’s – now and in the future – he exercised this power.
Unfortunately, this opportunity is not afforded to Traditional Owners under Queensland’s Aboriginal Land Act 1992. On Cape York Peninsula Areva has largely flown under the radar, and have been exploring in the Mitchell, Coleman and Gilbert river basins and areas further south and south west. …….
Clearly, the health of the Mitchell River and its tributaries affects the health of the people who rely on its waters for food, culture and lifestyle. As a healthy functioning ecosystem, the Mitchell River floodplain region is part of the real northern food bowl.
When Campbell Newman went to the 2012 state election with a ‘crystal clear’ commitment not to overturn the ban on uranium mining, Areva were already were warming up their drill rigs. Uranium mining is a dirty game and we’ve already seen severe contamination from leaks at Rio Tinto’s Ranger mine in the Northern Territory. Given the amount of wet season flooding on the Mitchell River, there is no doubt of direct risk to the Cape’s rivers from any future uranium operation.
What’s more, it seems as though the public’s right to contest and object to mining proposals is being eroded. Regardless of whether you live next door, downstream or elsewhere, your rights to contest mining proposals was diminished with the passing of the Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 in Queensland’s parliament recently. When enacted this heavy handed law will take away our rights to contest around 90% of mining projects.
Our healthy rivers and waterways are more than just unallocated commodities for the resource sector to consume and then dispose of. Our quality of life, through culture and lifestyle, depend on the life-giving water of the regions spectacular and precious river systems.
In the Mitchel River basin we are already seeing in-stream mining, a massive increase in exploration and increased sediment loads in aquatic environments. Introducing the risk of uranium contamination into the Mitchell and other rivers would be a disaster for people and country. It makes no sense to threaten the resource that sustains life with the ill-conceived and fast-tracked digging of a mineral that threatens life. http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/acf-opinion/uranium-new-threat-cape-york%E2%80%99s-rivers
Margaret Hender from the Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia explains the citizen owned renewables funding mechanism and highlights what is needed to encourage uptake of the concept.
The Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia (CORENA) brings together people in the community who are keen to contribute to action on climate change and that technology by enabling people to help collectively fund practical renewable energy projects.
Passing on the benefits of renewables
At first glance there is nothing particularly unusual about the 7 kilowatt high quality solar photovoltaic (PV) system that was installed in November 2013 on the roof of Tulgeen Disability Services in Bega, New South Wales. It will provide 58 per cent of the electricity used by the Tulgeen cheese packaging facility, which employs people with disabilities, and 21 per cent of the usage at the Training and Education Services day programs centre.
The novel element is the mechanism used to fund the project. CORENA gave Tulgeen an interest free loan of $12,000, funded entirely by voluntary contributions from citizens across Australia. Tulgeen CEO Pete Gordon plans to repay the zero interest loan in three years from the savings in power bills, however, the system will be generating electricity for 25 years. This translates into reduced costs for Tulgeen’s clients and a greater range of services able to be offered by the centre.
This represents a win-win scenario. Tulgeen chose to cover part of the cost themselves, but typical solar PV installations funded by CORENA don’t cost community organisations a cent, and their loan repayments help to fund installations for other organisations.
How CORENA began………..
Quick Small Projects
CORENA’s donated seed funds allow us to pursue what is needed, rather than being bound by conventional financial constraints.
CORENA’s Quick Small Projects take the capital expense out of energy efficiency and solar installations for community serving organisations by using donated funds to give interest free loans. As the loans are repaid out of savings from power bills, the funds then revolve into the next project, and then the next. When approximately 120 projects are funded, there will be enough revolving seed money to fund one new project per month on an ongoing basis. Our Quick Small Projects will then essentially cost nothing. To reach this point, we will need around $2.4 million in seed funds, or $24 from each of 100,000 people.
Solar thermal: the Big Win Project
Similarly, all income generated by CORENA’s solar thermal Big Win Project will be paid forward to help build additional utility-scale projects…….http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/citizen_funded_renewable_energy_projects/089762/
Cesium-137 detected from a pregnant woman in Matsudo city Chiba Fukushima Diary Iori Mochizuki 30 Oct 14
Cesium-137 was detected from a pregnant woman in Matsudo city, Chiba prefecture among 13 maternity testees. The specific density is not announced.
By 9/30/2014, 250 people have had the test and Cesium-134/137 has been detected from 25 of them. The breakdown of result is as follows……..http://fukushima-diary.com/2014/10/cesium-137-detected-pregnant-woman-matsudo-city-chiba/
Embark works to shift the community energy sector into the mainstream, as a proven and financially viable model capable of attracting large-scale investment and growing to meet its full potential.
Hepburn Wind (Aus)
Hepburn Wind is the owner and operator of Australia’s first community owned wind farm, at Leonards Hill, just south of Daylesford, Victoria. The 4.1 MW wind farm comprises two turbines and is approximately 100 km north-west of Melbourne.
The Community Power Agency (Aus)
The Community Power Agency was set up to support community groups in navigating the complex process of setting up a community owned renewable energy project.
Ranges Energy (Aus)
Ranges Energy is a community co-operative managed by a volunteer board of directors elected by shareholders. Ranges Energy grew out of a joint initiative of engineer Antony Howard of Sustainability Engineering and the Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association. The project was inspired by similar community energy projects around the world.
Denmark Community Wind Farm (WA, Aus)
Denmark Community Wind Farm Incorporated is a non-profit community group, incorporated in September 2003 to progress legal and financial structures for an organisation to own and operate Denmark’s community wind farm project in Denmark, Western Australia, as a local response to the global challenge of climate change.
Burger Windpark Gehlenberg GmbH and Co KG (Germany)
The Burger Windpark, located in Lower Saxony, Germany, includes 19 turbines each of 1.5 MW capacity and is a successful community owned wind farm. The project was initiated by the local farmers’ association and the manager of the local farmers’ bank, Raiffeisenbank.
RE-volv is building a citizens movement for solar energy by helping people to invest in solar, building solar projects in communities, and educating people about the benefits of solar in the US.http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/citizen_funded_renewable_energy_projects/089762/
I mean – in Christian charity, I should be feeling sorry for Greg Hunt, Australia’s hapless Anti-Environment Minister. But I just couldn’t help my schadenfreude in watching as Leigh Sales skewered Greg Hunt on the ABC 7.30 Report last night http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/ (If you’re not familiar with schadenfreude, look it up. Because many Australians are going to feel this feeling as they watch Australian Government Ministers explaining their Climate Lack of Policy over coming months.
Anyway – I can’t help feeling that it was fun. English teachers across the nation can use Greg Hunt as a perfect example of double-speak and wobbly words. Mr Hunt struggled to not answer Leigh Sales’ quite clear and simple question:
“Why are you wasting tax-payers’ money on reviewing emissions trading schemes, when you have stated that this government will never have an emissions trading scheme?”
Poor Greg floundered about, and in this and subsequent interviews, he has been a sample case in weasel words, such as “Let me be quite clear” and “at the end of the day”
Today Mr Palmer and Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced that they’ve reached a deal to create a $2 billion slush fund for polluters. They’re calling it ‘Direct Action’ and they’re trying to convince people that it will reduce pollution, when there is no modelling or other evidence that it will do anything of the sort.
Australians aren’t so easily duped.
Palmer and Abbott have absolute contempt for every Australian who wants strong action on global warming. If Palmer was even remotely serious, he’d get out of the coal business instead of expanding it.
We had a strong and effective set of policies in place to tackle global warming. Clive Palmer and Tony Abbott tore them up. Now they’re pretending to care about our climate, all while making sure that big polluters get a massive taxpayer handout and carry on with business as usual.
Abbott government does deal with Clive Palmer to pass its “Direct Action” (so-called) Climate Policy
Direct Action set to pass Senate after Government strikes deal with Clive Palmer ABC News, By political correspondent Emma Griffiths, 29 Oct 14 Tony Abbott’s plan for a $2.5 billion Direct Action emissions reduction fund is set to pass the Senate after the Government made several concessions to win over the support of Palmer United Party and other crossbench senators.
PUP leader Clive Palmer won a Government commitment to salvage the Climate Change Authority and to ask it to conduct an 18-month review of the PUP plan to legislate an emissions trading scheme (ETS) at a zero rate.
“The authority will conduct a review examining whether there are emissions trading arrangements in other countries and what form they take,” Environment Minister Greg Hunt said………
Under the Direct Action plan, polluters would be paid to reduce emissions, in a scheme which has been estimated to cost more than $2.5 billion over four years……..
Greens leader Christine Milne has slammed the direct action policy as “embarrassing”.
“What we have here is no contribution to bringing down emissions, no modelling to backing up the claims, a government and Clive Palmer which tore down an emissions trading scheme which was bringing down emissions,” she said.
In July, the Coalition succeeded in scrapping the carbon tax with PUP support……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-29/direct-action-set-to-pass-senate/5851914
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I switched to Powershop recently, I had several satisfactory years of fully renewable energy with AGL. But now I am especially glad about the switch. Apart from Powershop being cheaper and more efficient – it IS dedicated to renewable energy. And alas, looks as if AGL has now gone well and truly over to the dark side. (See the article further down this page.)
ETU branch urges members to back Powershop http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/breaking-news/etu-branch-urges-members-to-back-powershop/story-fnn9c0hb-1227105301934 JOHN CONROY OCTOBER 28, 2014
The Electrical Trades Union – Victorian Branch (ETU) has announced that it will be recommending an electricity offer with new Victorian market entrant and renewable energy backed electricity retailer Powershop to its members.
ETU State Secretary Troy Gray said: “We are urging our 20,000 strong membership in Victoria to switch to Powershop to show their support for the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and Australia’s renewable energy future.”
“For us it was a no brainer. Powershop has been ranked the greenest energy company in Australia by Greenpeace, they are backed by 100 percent renewable energy generator Meridian, they are the only energy company to put up a fight to defend the Renewable Energy Target and the jobs and investment it creates and they are 100 percent carbon neutral too.”
“Our research indicated that companies, like Powershop, who support the RET, are 20-30 per cent cheaper than those who oppose it. The Warburton Review of the RET failed to make the case that the RET drives up power prices and with Powershop we know that our members can back renewable energy and the RET and save money.
“Importantly, by encouraging our members to switch to Powershop, we can also help break the cycle of the big three energy companies (AGL, Origin and Energy Australia) ripping off our members with rapacious deals and self serving energy policies.”
“For too long, our members, and other consumers across Victoria, have been in the grip of an oligopoly that has kept them at arms length from their own energy usage data. The emergence of Powershop, enabled by the RET, has brought unprecedented levels of innovation and choice to a broken market.”
Powershop is backed by Australasia’s largest renewable energy company, NZ-based Meridian Energy. It launched on the Victorian market in February 2014 and has recruited over 20,000 customers to date. Powershop says it is a modern power company that’s designed from the ground up with the sole purpose of empowering consumers and saving them money.
The company has been working to make the case that renewable energy reduces the cost of electricity for consumers. When Renew Economy reviewed submissions to the RET review from energy companies in June 2014, Powershop was found to be “the only retailer to call unequivocally for the current (renewable energy) target to be retained.”
The ETU will not be receiving a payment from Powershop related to this offer to its members. ETU members switching to Powershop through this offer will each receive a sign up credit payment.
Cutting Renewable Energy Target brings risk of legal compensation action against Australian government
Compensation action shadows government proposal to cut renewable energy target: law report, October 28, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Lowering the renewable energy target is likely to undermine existing investments while freezing new ones, and open the federal government to demands for compensation, a leading law firm has said in a report.
International law group Baker & McKenzie, which has provided legal services to clean energy projects such as wind farms, said any reduction in the goal would increase the cost of capital “to make many existing and future projects financially unviable”.
Financing arrangements would be reviewed following any change in the target because the industry’s currency – renewable energy certificates – would fall by between 10 and 30 per cent, affecting the viability of even established ventures. “The vast majority of existing projects will be up for refinancing over the period 2016-2018,” Baker & McKenzie said in the report. “Existing projects might not be able to meet the minimum financing requirements based on the revised set of risks and parameters.”Kane Thornton, acting head of industry lobby group Clean Energy Council, said the report shows the risks of cutting the renewable energy target or RET.
“This report shows that a cut in the target of the scale proposed by the government would have far reaching and damaging consequences, and also that ensuring adequate compensation would be an extraordinarily complex and expensive task,” he said. Continue reading
AGL Energy – once the ‘greenest’ retailer in the country and now the largest producer of coal-fired energy – has called for the renewable energy target to be scrapped altogether.
As speculation increased in Canberra and media circles that the Abbott government and Labor would agree on a compromise that would result in a significant hair-cut to the current 41,000GWh target, AGL intervened in the debate by saying that was not good enough – the RET should be dumped completely.
Chief executive Michael Fraser, who has overseen the change in AGL Energy’s business model fromgreen to black, says the RET policy is broken. He endorses the controversial Warburton Review’s more extreme finding that the target should be dumped altogether.……..
There are a couple of issues with what Fraser has said. For a start, as all the inquiries to date have found, the RET has actually worked very well. It spurred billions of dollars of investment, thousands of jobs, and in states such as South Australia has caused dramatic falls in emissions.
What has caused the hiatus in the last two years is the uncertainty caused by the Abbott government’s review, and the inability of developers to get power purchase agreements from the likes of AGL Energy and others, and therefore to get finance. Still, the government likes to use the ‘target is impossible’ argument – despite its own modelling rejecting the idea. ……
AGL Energy has an interest in not having a carbon price, or a renewable energy target, particularly since its purchase of the 2.2GW Loy Yang A brown coal generator, and the 4.6GW Bayswater and Liddell coal-fired generators in NSW. That changed the colour of its revenues to $12 black for every $1 of green energy.
As it made clear in July, its long-term business interests now lie firmly in removing environmental policies such as the carbon price and renewables:
‘While the removal of the carbon tax and associated transitional assistance has a negative impact on the short-term earnings of the Loy Yang A power station, it has a materially positive impact on its long-term value. Any reduction in the Renewable Energy Target would also have a positive impact on the value of Loy Yang A.’ Ditto for Macquarie Generation.
AGL Energy, therefore, has an interest in ensuring that carbon and renewables do not trouble its business plan. ………http://www.echo.net.au/2014/10/agl-energy-calls-renewables-target-scrapped-completely/
The nuclear industry has a grip on USA’s Department of Energy (DOE) – they work together to promote nuclear power. It’s not hard to find academics who will pretty much advertise nuclear power- especially nulcear physicists and engineers. After all, where else will they get a high-paying prestigious job?
A global tactic of DOE is buying academia. Universities like the funding. We have some of this funding in Australia, at Flinders University, for example.
The latest from the UK is Cambridge University – very happy indeed to be funded by USA to promote the pipe-dream of thorium nuclear powered reactors – as “safer nuclear power”. Note that it’s not “safe” nuclear power – just a bit less dangerous than conventional uranium-powered nuclear power. And considerably more dangerous that wind or solar power, of course.
But thorium nuclear power – though super-expensive, dangerous, and a weapons proliferation threat – has one big advantage – it keeps the failing nuclear power dream alive.
Musical points to sinister nuclear implications, Japan Times, BY TOMOHIRO OSAKI OCT 28, 2014 A recent court-themed musical staged in Tokyo was, to say the least, an audacious dig at the contentious state secrets law scheduled to take effect in December.
Set several years after the law’s passage last December, the musical, performed last week in Nakano Ward by the social theater troupe Musical Guild Q, offered what its adviser said was a “fairly realistic” sneak peek into how the first-ever trial of violators of this law would play out. At the same time, it was also an attempt to sound the alarm about what critics of the law say is an attempt by the powers that be to retreat into a more controlled society like the one that existed during the Pacific War.
“The chief purpose of the musical was to alert the audience to the likelihood that after the law takes effect, even information that is vital to their everyday life can be unjustly taken away from them,” said veteran lawyer and rights activist Yuichi Kaido, who served as a special adviser for the show.
On trial during the musical, which is titled “The Secret Garden,” is a group of nine ordinary citizens………
the audience is gradually clued in to what the musical’s writer calls the secrets law’s “inseparable” connection with nuclear power, and its ulterior motive to help achieve Japan’s transformation into a nuclear weapons-capable nation………
lawyer Kaido says he hopes that a worried citizenry will continue to protest and do everything possible to show the government they oppose the law even after it takes effect on Dec. 10.
“I don’t want people to succumb to the law’s pressure, but continue to fight for their rights to access information they have every right to know about,” he said. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/28/national/musical-points-sinister-nuclear-implications/#.VFFjIiLF8nk
Report finds renewable energy supply critical to Esperance future By JESSE McCARTHY-PRICEhttp://www.esperanceexpress.com.au/story/2645482/renewable-energy-key-to-esperance-development/?cs=1268 Oct. 23, 2014 ESPERANCE’S economic future would be bolstered by investment in renewable energy, according to a report Esperance Region Economic Development Strategy.
It identifies Esperance as a viable place for renewable energy generation opportunities due to an abundance of natural assets, available land and being close to infrastructure. “Esperance has a strong history of embracing renewable technology with the Ten Mile Lagoon wind farm one of the state’s first commercial-scale renewable projects,” the report said.
“Energy cost and access is currently a critical barrier to economic development for a significant proportion of the Esperance region. “Enabling reliable access to cost-effective energy will greatly enhance the viability of new and existing operations and make the region more competitive with alternative residential and investment destinations.”
Not being connected to the South West Interconnected System power grid prevented large scale energy generation and export for the region.
“However, the isolation of the region may make it attractive as a trial area for new renewable technologies given appropriate marketing, incentive and inducement,” it said.
“The isolation also makes the region ideal for localised, distributed generation.” Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Grant Shipp said lowering energy costs would benefit local business.
Last year, renewables accounted for 24 per cent of the country’s electricity.The German government introduced generous subsidies to kick-start the sector, amounting to 16 billion euros last year. But the government claims the program has already saved billions in fuel costs for the heavily import-reliant country.
“We have created new businesses worth 40 billion euros per year,” Ecologic Institute analyst Andreas Kraemer said.”We have created additional employment for up to 400,000 people. They all pay taxes, they all pay social security charges.”
German households and small business pay the largest share for the renewable turnaround.They pay around 29 euro cents per kilowatt hour and much of that goes towards a renewable energy surcharge.
Big industrial users are exempt from the surcharge and pay just 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour……..
A new-look energy market The energy turnaround has clouded the future for the dominant utility companies in Germany.Germany’s big four, Vattenfall, E.on, RWE and EnBW, have enjoyed an oligopoly driven by nuclear power and fossil fuels………
Investors look for exposure to renewables market The makeup of the German energy market already looks very different, with hundreds of companies and cooperatives being formed in a decentralised industry.
While banks, industry, and project developers own 40 per cent of renewable installations, farmers and private investors own half.A number of new investment vehicles have formed to take advantage of the new industry. Crowd funding start up Bettervest has financed 14 projects since its inception a year ago.
Company spokesman Julien Schroder-Gianoncelli said investors are attracted by the projects and the returns,\. “We are offering 5-10 per cent in interest, which is pretty good at the moment,” he said.
Ceramic Fuel Cells believes Germany’s regulations, incentives and market make it the place to be. Mr Obernitz said that, for the time being at least, there are no incentives available in Australia.
“I’m not sure if that is going to change,” he said.
“We would favour that because we have invented the technology in Australia, and it’s something that will change the world.”……… https://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/a/25372077/germanys-renewable-energy-incentives-and-regulations-attracting-australian-companies/