Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

April 2014 – the theme is Nuclear Power and Climate Change

I felt that I must go back to a “theme” for this month, because this one is such an important one.

The nuclear industry has put it over the world with a number of lies. Yet one by one, each nuclear lie has been exposed.

Nuclear power is not clean.  It’s not cheap. It’s not safe. It’s notnecessary.

Today – those nuclear promoters who in the past denied that global warming was happening – are now changing their tune.

The only seemingly valid argument for nuclear power is that it will “combat global warming” because nuclear is “emissions free. It is “low carbon”

But that’s just another lie.

wastes-deep-burial

April 7, 2014 Posted by | Christina themes | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto and ERA made huge profits from Ranger mine: now not paying to restore the land?

Ranger-retention-damRanger mine: ERA attracts ire from local community over uranium rehab, Brisbane Times April 21, 2014  Resources reporter The relationship between Energy Resources of Australia and a crucial group of indigenous people appears to be deteriorating, after the miner raised doubts about its ability to pay for the rehabilitation of the Ranger uranium mine near Kakadu.

The open pits at Ranger have already come to the end of their working lives, and the only chance of further mining is if an exploration campaign on site, known as ”Ranger 3 Deeps”, is successful.

ERA surprised its stakeholders last month when it suggested it might struggle to pay for the rehabilitation if Ranger 3 Deeps did not go ahead.

”If the Ranger 3 Deeps mine is not developed, in the absence of any other successful development, ERA may require an additional source of funding to fully fund the rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area,” the company said in its annual report.

ERA is 68 per cent owned by Rio Tinto, but Rio boss Sam Walsh indicated last week that Rio had already contributed to the rehabilitation costs at Ranger when it participated in a $500 million equity raising for ERA in 2011………

The comments have worried the local indigenous group – the Mirarr people – whose permission is required before ERA can conduct any further mining at Ranger.

Justin O’Brien, who runs the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation for the Mirarr people said the group’s land was being held to ransom by the miners.

”The attitude of Rio and ERA shows that little has changed in more than three decades since [land rights campaigner] Galarrwuy Yunupingu described talks over the Ranger mine as ‘like negotiating with a gun to my head’,” he said. ”The mining giants have made enormous profits at the expense of Mirarr traditional lands and are now holding the World Heritage-listed area to ransom.”

ERA has already started some rehabilitation work at Ranger, has made provisions and also has a trust for rehabilitation in place with the Australian government, which was holding $63.9 million at December 31.

A spokesman for ERA said the company’s long-term business plan was to ensure the business could meet its rehabilitation obligations.  http://www.smh.com.au/business/ranger-mine-era-attracts-ire-from-local-community-over-uranium-rehab-20140420-36ymv.html#ixzz2zYdytsJ0

April 21, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The wickedness behind the “Chernobyl wild paradise” myth

highly-recommendedDecay takes a holiday: the wickedness beneath the “Chernobyl wild paradise” myth and the rotten implications for ecosystems and radiation science http://www.beyondnuclear.org/russia-ussr/2014/4/18/decay-takes-a-holiday-the-wickedness-beneath-the-chernobyl-w.html 21 April 14 

Zombie forest?

April 26, 2014 will mark 28 years since the Chernobyl nuclear reactor exploded causing an unprecedented nuclear catastrophe. In a creepy revelation, the forests around Chernobyl are having difficulty decomposing. A recently published study indicates that forest matter in the contaminated areas around Chernobyl is taking years or even decades longer to decay than it should. In the areas with low radiation, 70 to 90 percent of the leaves were gone after a year. Where radiation levels were higher, “leaves retained around 60 percent of their original weight…”(Smithsonian.comThis indicates a fundamental disruption to the natural cycle of death feeding life, and calls into question the forest’s longer-term viability. Creatures responsible for decay such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects, are essential components of any ecosystem because they recycle organic material back into the soil. Unfortunately, they do not function properly in the areas around Chernobyl, leaving a forest full of “petrified-looking pine trees that no longer seem capable of rotting.” GIZMODO

Map-Chernobyl_FALLOUT

 

Radiation’s effect on decay processes should be expected, considering how it impacts microbes in food; or considering the results of a bizarre, cavalier and extremely ill-advised series of experiments performed using a “naked reactor” in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. These experiments intentionally irradiated a number of varying materials and forest land 40 miles north of Atlanta, GA. Wood subjected to this radiation was produced in small-scale and called “Lockwood”, for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation who operated the Georgia Nuclear Laboratory. The building and land is still contaminated with radionuclides.

The lack of decomposer activity has researchers worried that nutrients which trees require for grow are not being recycled, causing trees in the area to grow more slowly.  Improper plant decay has potential implications for animal decay as well, although there do not appear to be any Chernobyl studies investigating this yet.

Actual in-the-field examinations of regions contaminated by radioactivity from Chernobyl also reveal evidence for increased mutation rates, abnormal sperm with reduced swimming ability, developmental abnormalities, cataractstumors, smaller brains in both birds and mammals, and decreased tree growth rates, a finding of fundamental importance for ecosystem functioning that likely relates to effects on the microbial community. Fewer spiders and insects including bees, butterflies and grasshoppers—live there. Animals and plants show other impacts of radiation after the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in the US and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Timothy Mousseau, a biologist at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, who collaborated on many of these studies, contends that, fundamentally, this evidence indicates  low-dose rate exposures cause significant measurable impacts for the biota inhabiting contaminated regions of Chernobyl. Further, this evidence supports a hypothesis that suggests effects down to very low levels.  Further implications for Fukushima should not be ignored.

Humans and animals alike: healthy looking on the outside, disintegrating on the inside

Referencing studies summarized in his book, Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, Alexey Yablokov states:

“Wildlife in the heavily contaminated Chernobyl zone sometimes appears to flourish, but the appearance is deceptive,” says Yablokov. “Levels of incorporated radionuclides remain dangerously high for mammals, birds, amphibians, and fish. Long-term observations of both wild and experimental animal populations in the heavily contaminated areas show significant increases in morbidity and mortality that bear a striking resemblance to changes in the health of humans – increased occurrence of tumours and immuno­deficiencies, decreased life expectancy, early aging, changes in blood and the circulatory system, malformations, and other factors that compromise health.

“All of the populations of plants, fishes, amphibians and mammals studied there are in poor condition,” he continues. “This zone is analogous to a ‘black hole’, in which there is accelerated genetic degeneration of large animals – some species may only persist there via immigration from uncontaminated areas. The Chernobyl zone is a micro-evolutionary ‘boiler’, where gene pools of living creatures are actively transforming, with unpredictable consequences. We ignore these findings at our peril.”

Dr. Yablokov’s statement deftly presents the dichotomy between what is observed by a dilettante’s eye – such as lots of members in a wild animal population — versus what is actually happening to these members over time. What is happening to this wildlife has parallel implications for human health.

So where did this “paradise for wildlife” and “biodiversity sanctuary” myth come from? In 2006 the International Atomic Energy Agency, a nuclear power promoter and a member body of the United Nations, released a report entitled Environmental Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident and their Remediation: Twenty Years of Experience. This report references the creation of a nature preserve within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and remarks Without a permanent residence of humans for 20 years, the ecosystems around the Chernobyl site are now flourishing. The CEZ has become a wildlife sanctuary…, and it looks like the nature park it has become.” From another report: “Indeed, the Exclusion Zone has paradoxically become a unique sanctuary for biodiversity.”

The Chernobyl Forum coalition makes this statement in support of “unique biodiversity” in spite of their recognition that “Genetic effects of radiation, in both somatic and germ cells, have been observed in plants and animals of the Exclusion Zone during the first few years after the Chernobyl accident. Both in the Exclusion Zone, and beyond, different cytogenetic anomalies attributable to radiation continue to be reported from experimental studies performed on plants and animals.” They conclude, however, “[w]hether the observed cytogenetic anomalies in somatic cells have any detrimental biological significance is not known.” In order to know this, one has to actually look.

The study summaries compiled by Alexey Yablokov, et al. (studies which had been mostly unavailable in the west until 2009) and the published examinations of researchers Mousseau, et al., indicate rather strongly that there is significant biological detriment to wildlife in the contaminated areas surrounding Chernobyl. And unlike these studies, the Chernobyl Forum documents provide very few references (under ten total) for any claims they make regarding the flourishing of wildlife.

 

 

April 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power could prove uneconomic for United Arab Emirates

antnuke-relevantNuclear Power: Boon Or Bane For The GCC?, Gulf Business, 
As the UAE and Saudi race to build nuclear reactors to meet mounting energy needs, the inevitable question arises – is nuclear a viable option?, Gulf business By Aarti Nagra 18 April 14

Fuelled by rising energy demand and depleting oil and gas resources, nuclear energy has gained strong momentum in the GCC, particularly in countries like the UAE. The country has lofty ambitions to generate up to 25 per cent of its electricity needs – or 5.6GW – through nuclear means by 2020.
Abu Dhabi began construction of its first nuclear reactor, Barakah 1, in July 2012, and it is in the process of building three more plants.

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, the body responsible for the project, announced in February that the first two plants are on schedule and are up to 35 per cent complete……..However, nuclear energy may not necessarily be the best option for the GCC region, states Mohammed Atif, area manager, Energy Advisory, Middle East at DNV GL – Energy.

“A reasonable diversification of fuels is always beneficial for a region in order to reduce risks and price volatility,” he says.

“The right composition of a generation portfolio is always a difficult question and has to take political, economic, technical and environmental aspects into consideration.

“We would suggest entering into a roadmap to achieve security of supply at a good price level even without nuclear energy.”……….An Oxford report on nuclear power production in the GCC published in December 2012 also pointed out that nuclear power generation could prove an expensive option for GCC states.

“The substantial initial investment costs, coupled with the high expected level of long run variable costs, is unlikely to render nuclear power cost effective vis-à-vis conventional oil and gas fired power plants in the region,” it says.

“The existing absence of cost-recovering power tariffs throughout the GCC already renders effective cost recovery for nuclear power unlikely, implying a substantial bill in the form of nuclear power subsidies to be picked up by GCC governments.”

There are also other hidden costs, such as national and regional security concerns and the future disposal of nuclear waste.

“And the acquisition of nuclear technology by GCC states, albeit for civilian purposes, provides fuel to those critics of nuclear power in the region who fear a nuclear arms race in the Gulf should Iran pursue a nuclear weapons programme in the future.

“All these concerns make nuclear power a potentially costly option for the GCC,” the report cautions………….http://gulfbusiness.com/2014/04/nuclear-power-boon-bane-gcc/#.U1WPalVdWik

April 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sir George Brandis, Defender of the Fossil Fuel Faith

Hear-This-wayGreens hit back at Brandis’ comments on climate change, ABC Radio Saturday AM 19 April 14 Will Ockenden reported this story on Saturday, April 19, 2014 ASHLEY HALL: The Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, says people who say the science is settled on climate change are ignorant and medieval.

In an article published in the online political magazine Spiked, Senator Brandis says he’s been shocked by the “sheer authoritarianism” of those who’ve excluded climate-change deniers from the debate.

The Greens have hit back, saying it’s a feudal way of thinking to say that everyone’s view of climate change is equally valid.

Brandis,-George-knight

Will Ockenden spoke to acting leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt.

ADAM BANDT: This Abbott Government is using every trick in the book to hide the fact that they’re not taking the action that the science calls for on climate change. And to suggest that somehow people in this country are being restricted from airing albeit very wrong views on climate change is completely misleading. I mean, if someone said ‘two plus two equals five’, would you insist on giving them as much airtime in the media as someone who said ‘two plus two equals four’? That’s in effect what the country’s highest law officer is arguing, and it’s very worrying……..

ADAM BANDT: The science has been through one of the most rigorous peer-reviewed processes it can go through. And the answer that’s coming out from people right across the political spectrum, if you take your ideological goggles off for a moment, is that unless we act soon, the Australian way of life is under enormous threat from global warming.

WILL OCKENDEN: Should people be able to, though, nonetheless be able to say that climate change doesn’t exist?

ADAM BANDT: Well people are saying that, and they’re saying it at the moment and they’re wrong. The science community is now essentially speaking with one voice. 

To say someone without science training can somehow simply on a free speech basis say that they’re all wrong is a very feudal way of thinking….
ASHLEY HALL: The acting leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, speaking to Will Ockenden. 
Saturday AM requested an interview with Senator George Brandis, but we haven’t heard back from him.  http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2014/s3988495.htm

April 21, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Sea level rise already threatening properties

nuke-&-seaLRising tides threaten communities on the beach — and far from it, too USA Today, Matt Alderton, Green Living  April 19, 2014  The mud in Folsom Lake, near Sacramento, Calif., is dry and chapped, like cracked heels. The bottom of the reservoir, once under water, now is largely barren, save for its shallow center and a smattering of stray puddles.

That’s because California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in state history. Conditions are so bad that antnuke-relevantGov. Jerry Browndeclared a state emergency in January. He urged state residents to voluntarily reduce personal water consumption by 20 percent.

In the context of having so little water, it might seem strange to worry about having too much. And yet, that’s exactly the dilemma facing California today. Even as it reels from drought, it must begin planning for floods. And make no mistake: Floods are coming. Not only to California, but to coastal cities across the country and around the world, which face a certain influx of water as oceans rise under the specter of climate change.

“We analyzed 55 different water level stations throughout the United States and found that for about two-thirds of them, sea level rise from climate change has already more than doubled the risk of extreme flooding,” says Dr. Ben Strauss, director of the Program on Sea Level Rise at Climate Central, a nonprofit organization dedicated to communicating the science and effects of climate change.

Based on the analysis, Climate Central developed Surging Seas, an interactive website (sealevel.climatecentral.org) that maps the flood threats from sea level rise and storm surges. The map shows how more than 3,000 coastal communities in the contiguous United States would be affected if sea levels were to rise from 1 to 10 feet.

“Sea level rise is already happening, and its continuation is inevitable,” Strauss says. “At some point it will be obvious to every family living in a coastal area, and every community will be looking to protect itself.”

A scary proposition

Multiple forces are colluding to make the oceans swell.

One is warming oceans. “Because of that, you have an expansion of ocean waters, and the only place they can go is up,” says Rachel Cleetus, a senior economist in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an alliance of citizens and scientists who collaborate on solutions to global problems.

Another is melting land-based ice forms such as glaciers and ice sheets. “You’re adding volume to the world’s oceans, and that’s causing them to rise,” Cleetus says.

Because the rate of ice loss is accelerating, oceans are rising faster than ever before. Cleetus says sea level could rise anywhere from 8 inches to 6.5 feet by the end of the century. Some scientists put estimates as high as 10 or 15 feet. That’s on top of approximately 8 inches of sea level rise already logged in the last century.

“Those 8 inches of sea level rise from climate change are already making every single coastal flood bigger, deeper and more damaging,” Strauss says.

Although scientists typically project sea level rise through the year 2100, communities likely will be impacted much sooner than that. The culprit? Incremental storm surges……….

Ultimately, then, the best solution might be the hardest to swallow: retreat.

“We need to pull back, in essence, from the shore,” says environmental and land-use planning consultant Barry Chalofsky. “If you live (in a coastal floodplain) and you’re counting on your house to be your nest egg when you retire, or you want to pass it on to your children, I would strongly think about elevating your property, then selling it over the next five to 10 years.” http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2014/04/19/green-living-coastal-communities/7871349/

April 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aboriginal science: their knowledge completely underestimated by white Australia

Aboriginal people – how to misunderstand their science, The Conversation, Ray Norris, 21 April 14 Just one generation ago Australian schoolkids were taught that Aboriginal people couldn’t count beyond five, wandered the desert scavenging for food, had no civilisation, couldn’t navigate and peacefully acquiesced when Western Civilisation rescued them in 1788.

How did we get it so wrong?

book-biggest-EstateAustralian historian Bill Gammage and others have shown that for many years land was carefully managed by Aboriginal people to maximise productivity. This resulted in fantastically fertile soils, now exploited and almost destroyed by intensive agriculture.

In some cases, Aboriginal people had sophisticated number systems, knew bush medicine, and navigated using stars and oral maps to support flourishing trade routes across the country.

They mounted fierce resistance to the British invaders, and sometimes won significant military victories such as the raids by Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy. Only now are we starting to understand Aboriginal intellectual and scientific achievements.

The Yolngu people, in north eastern Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, long recognised how the tides are linked to the phases of the moon.

Back in the early 17th century, Italian scientistGalileo Galilei was still proclaiming, incorrectly, that the moon had nothing to do with tides.

Some Aboriginal people had figured out how eclipses work, and knew how the planets moved differently from the stars. They used this knowledge to regulate the cycles of travel from one place to another, maximising the availability of seasonal foods.

Why are we only finding this out now?………..

Still to learn

In recent years, it has become clear that traditional Aboriginal people knew a great deal about the sky, knew the cycles of movements of the stars and the complex motions of the sun, moon and planets………

kids studying science today could also learn much from the way that pre-contact Aboriginal people used observation to build a picture of the world around them.

This “ethno-science” is similar to modern science in many ways, but is couched in appropriate cultural terms, without expensive telescopes and particle accelerators.

So if you want to learn about the essence of how science works, how people learn to solve practical problems, the answer may be clearer in an Aboriginal community than in a high-tech laboratory. http://theconversation.com/aboriginal-people-how-to-misunderstand-their-science-23835

April 21, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Aboriginal protest against the royals

Aboriginal activists stage royal protest http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/aboriginal-activists-stage-royal-protest/story-fn3dxiwe-1226889841334 AAP APRIL 19, 2014  ABOUT 30 Aboriginal activists are staging a protest at South Bank, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due to arrive soon.

The protesters are gathered at the park precinct, where the couple is due to attend a civic reception before a brief public walk later this afternoon.

“Always was, always will be Aboriginal land,” the protesters chanted.

One held a yellow placard that read: “Give back what is ours.”

Police told AAP a small number of Aboriginal protesters had been moved on at South Bank.

One activist was ushered away after going behind barricades meant to keep the royal route along Grey Street clear, outside the South Brisbane train station.

No arrests have been made.

April 21, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Abbott government’s RET review policy designed to stop investment in renewable energy

Abbott-destroys-renewablesFederal renewable energy review leaves investors nervous, ABC News By Lucy Shannon. 19 Apr 2014A Federal government review of the renewable energy target scheme appears to be making industry investors nervous.

The Environment Protection Authority approved a $200 million wind farm proposal for Tasmania’s west coast earlier this month.

Despite the approval, the proponent of the Granville Harbour wind farm, West Coast Wind, is not confident of securing investment until the outcome of the Commonwealth review is known.

The renewable energy target scheme, set up by the Howard Government in 2001 aims to ensure 20 per cent of Australia’s energy is produced from renewable sources by 2020.

The scheme is required to be reviewed every two years.

Reports the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has faced strong internal pressure to scrap the RET from both the Nationals and the Liberals have led to fears it will be watered down.

West Coast Wind Director Royce Smith says he does not expect to secure investment for the 33 turbine project while the review is underway.

“It’s certainly got a few investors a bit shy at the moment, until we get the review in from the Federal Government everything’s on hold certainly at the moment,” Mr Smith said.

“It’s just a bit hard to invest money if you don’t know what the outcome is going to be, they’re just a bit nervous.”……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-19/renewable-energy-review-makes-investors-nervous/5399996

April 21, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Koch brothers use wealth to lobby against renewable energy

Abbott-Koch-policiesKoch Brothers, Conservatives & Oil Companies Lobby States Using Renewable Energy Sources: Alternative, Solar Power And Environmentalism Gaining Popularity Latin Post,   By Shawn Raymundo (staff@latinpost.com) 20 April 14,  As more and more states are beginning to utilize solar energy and adapt other clean green energy solutions, conservative lobby groups and oil tycoons have aggressively started pushing back against alternative energy.

The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and a number of powerful companies in the nation have started running campaign ads in Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina that paint renewable energy as a greedy bad guy, according to the Los Angeles Times.

With the help of solar power companies, environmentalists are battling back against big oil companies and their lobbyists over states that have implemented two types of energy policies: net metering and renewable energy requirements.

Net metering allows homeowners or businesses that have solar panels installed on roofs to sell back extra electricity to the power grid at attractive rates. The other policy requires utility companies to generate at least 10 percent of renewable energy, the Times reported. The majority of states in the U.S. have begun operating under at least one of the two policies if not both. The only states to not use net metering or generate power from renewable energy are Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi and Tennessee.

South Dakota and Texas are the only two states without metering programs but generate a percentage of their power from renewable energy, according to the Times………

The power industry fears that as more people install solar panels, less money is being paid to maintain transmission lines, substations and computer systems that many people rely on……

Edison Electric Institute, an advocacy group for the power industry, warned power companies that renewable energy policies could irrevocably damage the industry. The institute issued a report that stated, “it may be too late to repair the utility business model” if electric companies do not take action.

Christine Harbin Hanson, a spokeswoman for Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, told the Times in an email that “state governments are starting to wake up” and challenge renewable energy polices.

“These green energy mandates are bad policy,” Hanson said. http://www.latinpost.com/articles/10814/20140420/koch-brothers-conservatives-oil-companies-lobby-states-using-renewable-energy-sources-alternative-solar-power-and-environmentalism-gaining-popularity.htm

April 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby getting desperate? Flogging Small Modular Reactor Fantasy to Australia

To The Editor, The Advertiser, by Dennis Matthews, 19 April 14 Boy, do we have a deal for you! We have these super-dooper compact modular nuclear reactors (The Advertiser,19/4/14). We can’t say how many MW they would generate or how much they would cost, but the output will be less than 1/10th of the smaller (oops bigger) reactors and the proposed costs can be a fraction, somewhere between ½ and whatever.

But wait, there’s more. The essence of the technology already exists in nuclear submarines, which find them useful because they are not as smelly as generators using fossil fuels. We will put yours underground thus making it less polluting for your neighbours, except of course if they malfunction, which happens very rarely. You may have trouble with insurance but rest assured your government, like the US government, will pick up the costs at no charge to you.

SMRs Australia

It will be at least six years before the first one is built so beat the rush and get your orders in now.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Greg Hunt Australia’s Anti Environment Minister is blind to the looming catastrophe

Coal: Stop burning it, this is the next asbestos Canberra Times, April 19, 2014 Crispin Hul In the 1960s asbestos mining was a very profitable business. And it created a lot of jobs. Asbestos was very useful – indeed, one of the best insulating materials known to humankind.

The link between asbestos and cancer was known as early as the 1930s. But mining continued. ………

But asbestos was toxic. Ultimately it was more economically beneficial to leave it in the ground than use it, aside from the human cost…….

in the long term the continued use of coal will be profoundly more damaging than the continued use of asbestos. If the world continues to burn fossil fuels the way we do, the result will not be a few mesothelioma deaths (awful as they are) and some economic loss weeding asbestos out of buildings.

Rather, the result will be massive indirect economic costs because we did not have the sense to develop a gradual transition to leave the carbon-emitting toxic fuels in the ground and develop alternatives……..

Hunt-Greg-climateEnvironment Minister Greg Hunt, for example, said this week in response to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “Coal will be used for decades and decades more.”

His bedrock position is that coal continues irrespective, and he presumes someone (like the CSIRO, whose funds his government is slashing) will come up with a workable scheme to capture and bury the emissions. Idiocy when proven substitutes are available.

Hunt should not work from the base, being utterly beholden to the coal industry and that coal will continue no matter what. Rather, he should work from a base of what do we need to do to prevent global warming. How can Australia lead in a global movement?

In 30 years Hunt will look like an asbestos miner so concerned about profits and economic benefits that he is blind to the looming catastrophe.

Sensible economists tell us it will be less costly in the long run to do something than not. And it will not cost hugely to move more quickly to wind and solar generating………

 solar panels are about the best investment going. And their price is falling all the time while electricity prices continue to go up, presuming you are not renting, intend to stay put for several years and do not have shade trees all over your house.

The government should have built on this rather than continue homage to indefinite use of coal. Greg Hunt’s response to the IPPC report this week was woeful.

piggy-ban-renewablesThe federal government should do something to force electricity generators – nearly all state-government owned – to stop abusing their monopoly power by paying so little for electricity generated by residents. They should also remove their limits (usually to 5kw inverters) on the amount that can be generated from the home to the grid. That would encourage even greater investment in solar.

If they were private companies, competition law would not allow them to get away with their low feed-in prices.

A quick thought on NSW: For decades NSW politicians have pursued policies that benefit individual and sectional interests and in return have received very large donations from those interests. Those donations then go into campaigns for politicians to persuade voters that, despite the pandering to sectional interests, they are governing in the best interests of everyone in the state. Wouldn’t it be easier just to govern in the best interests of all in the first place and tell all the rich and powerful sectional interests to go jump? http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/coal-stop-burning-it-this-is-the-next-asbestos-20140418-36wlk.html

April 19, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Coal industry pretends to have grassroots support

Australians for Coal sent supporters’ letters to environmental groups, Guardian, , 17 April 14 Pro-coal fanmail sent to protest groups as well as MPs, but small numbers bring into question claim of backing by ‘silent majority’ The mining industry’s Australians for Coal campaign has come under renewed fire for forwarding the protest letters of its supporters to environmental groups, amid scepticism over the level of support the drive has garnered.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) launched the Australians for Coal website on Monday, before a television advertisement campaign, in order to extol the economic benefits of coal. The MCA has said the “silent majority” of Australians support coal, as opposed to a small but vocal group of anti-coal activists.

The site urges supporters to email their local MPs with a template letter that calls upon them to support the mining industry, which is “under attack from activists and extremists”.

When users enter a postcode, the website attributes their letter to all MPs in their home state, rather than just their local MP.

But the letters are also forwarded to “anti-coal activists”, with the Australian Conservation Foundation and Friends of the Earth confirming receipt of 28 emails. It is understood Greenpeace and anti-coal group Quit Coal were also sent emails. The emails sent to the environmental groups display each supporter’s name, postcode and email address. The emails to the non-government organisations abruptly stopped on Monday.

“It’s a really bizarre strategy – I now have these people’s names, emails and postcodes,” said Cam Walker, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “From go to woe this has been a pretty sloppy campaign.”

Walker said the MCA’s campaign had been “soundly trounced” by a largely critical reaction on social media……Bandt, the deputy leader of the Greens, said: “One of the emails came from Dame Gina Rinehart, so I’m not sure of its authenticity.

“The coal barons are terrified and rightly so. Coal is the next asbestos or tobacco and big coal is trying to fight that. I’m pleased this campaign has galvanised people who want to phase out coal.

“If everyday Australians love coal so much, why have one million of them put solar panels on their roofs? People are voting with their feet.”………

The MCA didn’t respond to questions put to it by Guardian Australia.http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/18/australians-for-coal-sent-supporters-letters-to-environmental-groups

April 19, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Renewable energy city produces 4 times more energy than it consumes

antnuke-relevantflag_germanySonnenschiff: Solar City Produces 4X the Energy it Consumes http://inhabitat.com/sonnenschiff-solar-city-produces-4x-the-energy-it-needs/ by , 07/27/11 Sonnenschiff solar city in Freiburg, Germany is very much net positive. The self-sustaining city accomplishes this feat through smart solar design and lots and lots of photovoltaic panels pointed in the right direction. It seems like a simple strategy — but designers often incorporate solar installations as an afterthought, or worse, as a label. Designed by Rolf Disch, the Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship) and Solarsiedlung (Solar Village) emphasize power production from the start by smartly incorporating a series of large rooftop solar arrays that double as sun shades. The buildings are also built to Passivhaus standards, which allows the project to produce four times the amount of energy it consumes!

solsr-city-Sonnenschiff

The project started out as a vision for an entire community — the medium-density project balances size, accessibility, green space, and solar exposure. In all, 52 homes make up a neighborhood anchored to Sonnenschiff, a mixed-use residential and commercial building that emphasizes livability with a minimal footprint. Advanced technologies like phase-change materials and vacuum insulation significantly boost the thermal performance of the building’s wall system.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Diplomacy gives the best chance of a successful deal between Iran and the West

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranWhy we must give Iran nuclear deal a chance, Global Public Square By Tyler Cullis and Jamal Abdi, Special to CNN, 17 April 14 Editor’s note: Tyler Cullis is a policy associate at the National Iranian American Council. Jamal Abdi is policy director at NIAC. The views expressed are the authors’ own.

The United States could be on the verge of securing a historic agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, one that verifiably limits it and opens the door to further cooperation between the two countries. Yet with a diplomatic victory on the horizon, the rhetoric of those who have long opposed any diplomatic resolution is reaching dizzying heights of disingenuousness.

During a recent Senate hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) hit out at reports that negotiations with Iran may produce a deal that “only” extends Iran’s nuclear breakout timeline to 6 to 12 months.

“I don’t think we did everything that we’ve done to only get a six to twelve month lead time,” Menendez lamented as he grilled Secretary of State John Kerry over the progress of the talks………

The Israeli government appears to believe that threatening possible military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities is the solution. But here’s the kicker: some estimates suggest that an Israeli strike on Iran would delay Iran’s breakout timeline by…six to twelve months – the same as the negotiated approach. The problem, of course, is that unlike a diplomatic solution, which would trade sanctions relief for verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear program, an Israeli (or U.S.) military strike would have the opposite effect, and could prompt Iran to kick out inspectors and make a dash for a nuclear deterrent.

All this suggests an understanding of the potential timelines under these scenarios points to one conclusion – the White House is taking the best approach, one that extends the breakout timeline and has the best potential for securing an intrusive inspections regime to ensure Iranian compliance.

Opponents of diplomacy would do well to reflect on the reality that as the United States has tried to leverage sanctions against Iran, Tehran has responded by ramping up the production of centrifuges. As a result, the U.S. has long been in need of a new direction in its policy toward Iran.

Tentatively, but unmistakably, the Obama Administration has pursued a new approach – one that has brought us the first freeze on Iran’s nuclear program in a decade and which reports suggests have led to significant concessions on Iran’s Arak reactor.

If such a deal is not good enough for some in Congress or Israel’s government, then they must be prepared to speak up and offer viable alternatives. In the meantime, they should avoid undermining one of the most promising prospects for limiting Iran’s nuclear program in years. http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/18/why-we-must-give-iran-nuclear-deal-a-chance/

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry desperate as it manipulates the media

antnuke-relevantFlag-USAYou know the nuclear industry is desperate whenMichael Mariotte April 1, 2014 You know the nuclear power industry is getting desperate when it solicits its CEOs to start piling on ghost-written op-eds in publications chosen for their reach to key audiences. And you know the industry is really desperate when it brings out big guns like a couple of paid-for former U.S. Senators to support nuclear power in The Hill newspaper, which, as its name implies, is aimed at current legislators. And you know the industry is super desperate when it pulls out none other than Rudy Giuliani, who continues stuffing his wallet with nuclear-powered green.

And when it rolls out all three on the same day? That’s when you know that the nuclear industry knows what not enough clean energy activists have yet understood: the nuclear power industry is in real trouble; it’s sensing its near-imminent demise; and like the dinosaur snarling and wagging its tail on its way to extinction, it’s in a dire, and ultimately likely to be unsuccessful, scramble for its very existence…..

The nuclear industry’s sense of desperation is palpable. Activists need to understand what the industry obviously knows: it’s in serious trouble. This is our time to really join together, ramp  up our efforts, and kick more of these reactors over the edge; they’re already teetering. They’re dangerous, they can’t provide cost-effective electricity, they don’t have a solution to their radioactive waste and they exist now only because they were built decades ago and the utilities want to milk them for everything they can before they surrender to the inevitable and have to begin spending huge sums of money again–but this time it won’t be to build new reactors, it will be to decommission their dinosaurs http://tinyurl.com/n3b9myt

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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