I don’t pretend that Australians of good will are at present winning the battle. We are up against the worst government ever, informed by the worst press domination – the Murdochracy.
However, Australians have made many local achievements in saving environment, and some national achievements in stalling the growth of polluting industries.
Here’s one achievement: Indigenous Protected Areas
changes are already happening in many districts. More than 50 million hectares — an area more than twice the size of the state of Victoria — are now managed and protected in Indigenous Protected Areas.
These are parks on Aboriginal-owned lands managed by Aboriginal ranger groups using a combination of modern and traditional knowledge and techniques.
The growth of Indigenous Protected Areas during the past 10 years, and their management for the benefit of local communities and all Australians, has been one of the success stories in the environmental and economic development of remote Australia.
Here’s somewhat of a success story in the nuclear -free movement
What we have achieved together Australian Conservation Foundation
ACF’s work for a nuclear-free future has been an important part of decades of opposition to the nuclear industry in Australia that has seen:
- Plans for domestic nuclear power scrapped;
- National and state legislation introduced to prohibit international radioactive waste dumping;
- Development and maintenance of anti-uranium mining policies and laws along the eastern seaboard;
- Scrapping of plans for uranium enrichment;
- Halting plans for a new uranium mine at Jabiluka in Kakadu;
- Continuing contest to all existing and new uranium projects and proposals in Australia;
- Strong regional and international campaign cooperation and exchange, including around French nuclear testing in the Pacific;
- Extensive liaison and links with Indigenous communities and organisations;
- World Heritage protection for that area of Kakadu threatened by the proposed Koongarra uranium mine; and
- An end to the threat of uranium mining at Arkaroola in South Australia’s Gammon Ranges.
We have facilitated a continuing public debate about the risks and responsibilities of our involvement in the global nuclear trade and continue to do so. We want meaningful action to address our energy needs, based upon leaving uranium in the ground..
for the traditional owners to have any confidence in the capacity of ERA and the regulators to manage Ranger the recommendations of the report must be acted on “swiftly and completely”.
Uranium miner ERA ‘did not meet expected standards’, new report over Kakadu acid spill says By James Dunlevie ABC News 24 Oct 14 A report has criticised standards at a Kakadu uranium mine, but local Aboriginal people say the investigation process had broken down and they had not been told the report was being released.
The investigation looked into the circumstances surrounding the incident at the Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) Ranger uranium mine in the national park, where 1,400 cubic metres of acidic slurry was spilt out of a collapsed tank about 1:00am on December 7, 2013.
The report found “at the time of the tank failure ERA’s management of process safety and its corporate governance did not meet expected standards”. In a joint statement announcing the release of the report, Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane and his Territory counterpart, Willem Westra Van Holte, thanked the members of the Ranger Incident Taskforce for their efforts “in particular, the contributions by the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation and the Northern Land Council”.
It’s just absurd that you would establish a taskforce to investigate … over a nearly 12-month period and then release the report and not have any dialogue with any taskforce members.Justin O’Brien, CEO Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation
ERA to lift safety standards at Ranger Uranium Mine 24 October, 2014 Ben Hagemann Australian Mining, The Ranger Uranium mine has been directed to engage in improvements to process safety procedures on site, as a result of inadequate safety at the time of the failure of a leach tank in December last year.
The Department of Industry released a summary joint statement for the investigation which said that at the time of the failure of Leach Tank 1, the management of process safety and its corporate governance did not meet the expected standards. Continue reading
Moore’s trip to Australia has been financed through the climate science denial organisation the Galileo Movement.
Moore is almost always described as a co-founder of Greenpeace, despite Greenpeace itself contesting that he wasn’t a co-founder.
An archive of Moore’s CV shows his work for corporations and organisations in logging, pulp and paper and mining. He has also been an advocate for the nuclear energy industry.
Climate Science Denialist Patrick Moore Tours Australia After Comparing Students to the Taliban http://www.desmogblog.com/2014/10/23/climate-science-denialist-patrick-moore-tours-australia-after-comparing-students-taliban#disqus_thread Canadian climate science denialist Patrick Moore is at the beginning of a tour around Australia speaking to audiences across the country.
But here’s a warning. If you do find yourself in the audience and don’t want to be compared to the “Taliban” then don’t even think about walking out in protest.
Less than two weeks before flying to Australia, Moore spoke on the campus of Amherst Collegein Massachusetts. When members of the college’s environmental group decided they had heard enough and walked, Moore said they had a “Taliban mindset”.
When he was later asked to apologise, a report in the Amherst College student newspaper says Moore instead chose to double-down on his remark. “Fifty people walk out, and I say that’s a pretty Taliban thing to do,” Moore is reported to have said, characterizing the behavior of the young students to that of the fundamentalist regime that massacred thousands and committed brutal repression of women.
Who is Patrick Moore?
Moore has no scientific credibility on climate change and has never published a scientific paper on the issue. Yet Moore claims there is “no scientific proof” that humans are causing global warming and that “throwing bones on the ground” would have a better predictive ability than most climate models.
His opinion on the science runs against all the major national science academies in the world and about 97 per cent of all the peer reviewed studies on climate change carried out since the early 1990s. Continue reading
“The agreement poses a very real risk to the environment,” says Professor Jane Kelsey, an expert on globalisation and economic regulation from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “If Australia signs an agreement with these mechanisms in place it will make it harder for the government to put new regulations in place.”
That includes any subsidies we might put on renewable energy, or protection we might put in place to save an endangered species.”
Kelsey. “The Abbott government is basically be binding the hands of all future governments on environmental issues.”
So what is the likelihood of Australia ending up signing the agreement as it stands? Prime Minister Tony Abbott has indicated he’s extremely supportive of signing the deal, and Andrew Robb, has stated that negotiations are in the final stages and the treaty is“ready to be sealed”.
TPP: the free-trade threat to Australia’s environment, ABC 24 Oct 14 FIONA MACDONALD Australia is preparing to sign an agreement that would give international corporations the power to go over the government’s head on environmental issues. Here’s what you need to know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
STRETCHING WIDE, blue and deep, the St Lawrence River in Canada drains America’s Great Lakes to the sea. Along its shores, painted weatherboard cottages cradled by vibrant autumnal trees take in the view of the vast body of water.
This peaceful scene belies the legal battle for what lies underground along this river basin. The Canadian state of Quebec is being sued for CAD$250 million of taxpayers’ money after putting a pause on fracking.
To be clear, Quebec hasn’t decided to ban fracking, it’s simply asked for time to conduct environmental studies to find out whether the process is safe — but mining company Lone Pine Resources has taken the government to an international court, claiming it’s lost millions of dollars in profits as a result of the snap decision.
And if previous trials are anything to go by, there’s a good chance Lone Pine will win, even if it turns out fracking is dangerous to the environment and public health.
It sounds crazy, but it’s legal. And under an agreement Australia is set to sign within 12 months, companies operating in Australia will be able to sue the Government if it makes decisions that hurt their profits — for example, putting in new policies to protect the environment. Continue reading
On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.
THE FORGOTTEN COUP Little Darwin, John Pilger 24 Oct 14 – How America and Britain crushed the government of Australia Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.
Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing. Continue reading
US opposes pos t-Fukushima nuclear safety proposal http://rt.com/usa/199024-cns-nuclear-safety-proposal/ October 24, 2014 The United States is reportedly trying to fend off an attempt out of Switzerland to change a multi-national nuclear safety agreement in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Reuters and Bloomberg News both reported this week that Swiss officials are seeking addendums to the 77-nation Convention on Nuclear Safety, or CNS, so that countries around the globe are compelled to upgrade energy facilities in hopes of preventing fallout like the one spawned by the Fukushima meltdown more than three years ago. Continue reading
Residents gather to oppose threat of uranium mining The Daily Liberal By MARK RAYNER Oct. 25, 2014 A strong crowd has turned out to voice their opposition to the Alkane Zirconia Mine, arguing the minerals it will extract pose a risk to the Dubbo community. About 70 people attended the meeting, entitled Alkane Rare Earth Mine: Radioactive Risk?, which was run by Uranium Free NSW.
They heard from the Central West Environmental Council’s Bev Smiles and Dr Gavin Mudd, who gave their opinions on rare earth and uranium mining. They are lobbying for a rejection of the Alkane proposal by the Planning and Assessment Commission on the basis uranium and thorium will be extracted. A decision is expected in November.
David Mould from Uranium Free Dubbo questioned the value of the project to the whole city.
“So far Alkane’s plans have not taken the health of Dubbo residents into account building a radioactive project without adequate consideration of engineering risks upstream of Dubbo’s drinking water supply.” Mr Mould said.
“Five out of 11 councillors stand to make money out of this project and the expansion of mining in Dubbo. How can Dubbo and Central West residents feel secure that their government cares for people over profit?”
Ms Smiles said with one of the largest deposits of uranium in NSW thought to exist in Toongi, the decision by the current state government to overturn a moratorium on uranium mining could be a negative thing for the region.
“The people of the Central West are concerned that this area has been targeted by the NSW government to open up uranium mining in NSW,” she said……..
The Planning Assessment Commission review for the Alkane Zirconia Project is November 4. Written submissions and applications to speak at the review close 1pm Wednesday October 29. Email email@example.com or phone (02) 9383 2112.
- A study from the University of New Hampshire suggests missions to Mars might be impossible due to an increased risk of radiation
- Research suggests when sun is less active cosmic rays increase
- This lowers the amount of time an astronaut can safely stay in space
- It is predicted solar activity will continue to decrease in future
- This will mean male astronauts can only stay in space for 320 days
- And for females this is reduced to just 240 days
- These would be too short for a mission to Mars, particularly for women
- Both would be susceptible to radiation sickness, cancer and more
By JONATHAN O’CALLAGHAN FOR MAILONLINE 22 October 2014
Sending people to Mars may be impossible due to an increased radiation risk from cosmic rays, claims a study.
It’s thought that a predicted decrease in solar activity will raise the levels of radiation astronauts are subjected to from cosmic rays on a deep space mission.
This will increase the risk of suffering sickness, cancer and more on lengthy trips to the red planet lasting about a year to levels beyond what is considered safe……
the number of days a human could spend in space before reaching the limit is less than thought……a mission to Mars for a man difficult, but for women it would be all but impossible without them succumbing to serious effects of radiation. ……..http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2802937/mars-mission-expose-astronauts-deadly-levels-radiation-travelling-red-planet-study-claims.html
General Electric a “massive investor” in renewable energy worried about changes to Renewable Energy Target
General Electric boss calls for certainty over renewable energy target, SMH, October 23, 2014 Anne Hyland Jeff Immelt, the chief executive of General Electric, one of the world’s largest investors in clean energy, has demanded the federal government provide certainty around its renewable energy target.
Mr Immelt in an interview with The Australian Financial Review said a “certainty of rules” was crucial for investment.
“These debates are all natural that are taking place in Australia and people can understand those,” he said. “But it’s important to know what the rules will be so people can invest around it.”
He said the sooner the uncertainty was resolved around the RET, the “better for everybody”………
General Electric has about $US10 billion ($12.6 billion) in cumulative investments in renewable energy assets globally, which are predominantly in wind and solar.
On its Australian website, GE had noted Australia was leading the world in its renewable energy policy and, as a result, wind energy in Australia was projected to the most commercially viable form of renewable energy over the next five to 10 years.
However, this could change under the government’s plans to alter the RET.
Mr Immelt said GE “began to invest massively” in clean energy after 2004 when it concluded that climate change was real…..
.The federal government’s proposal to almost halve the amount of renewable energy legislated to be to be produced by 2020 has been rejected by the Labor Party after it dismissed it as “completely unacceptable”…..http://www.smh.com.au/business/general-electric-boss-calls-for-certainty-over-renewable-energy-target-20141023-11aoc3.html
Renewable energy target about to get an Abbott-style haircut REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 23 October 2014Oh, dear, this is going to get ugly. Very ugly. Australia is poised to become the first country in the world to reduce the ambition of its renewable energy target – either through a deal between the Coalition and other parties. Or by default.
Only in Australia, one imagines, can a proposal by the government to slash the country’s renewable energy target by more than half be proclaimed by the “experts” as a “victory” for the moderates. Such is the toxic nature of this government’s antipathy to all things clean and green, and wind farms in particular. Welcome to Team Australia. Open to vested interests. Continue reading
North Coast solar industry worried by changes to Renewable Energy Target ABC News 23 Oct 2014, The North Coast solar industry says it will be impacted by changes to the Federal Government’s changes to the renewable energy target (RET).
The target is currently set at 41,000 kilowatts of renewable energy by 2020, but the Government wants to reduce that to 26,000 to reflect falling demand for power.
The changes would only impact large-scale RET projects directly, with the small-scale scheme excluded………
Geoff Tosio from Bellingen Solar Depot said the even with the small-scale target excluded, his business will still suffer if the target is lowered.
“In regards to the renewable energy target being chopped down to a “real” 20 percent, if that’s going to happen, then how is that going to happen?” he asked.
“To say that’s not going to affect household solar is quite disingenuous.”
Mr Tosio said a particular concern is that large-scale contracts will be impacted.
“We would see a dramatic reduction in the medium size, commercial size, systems that we sell,” he said.
“So while I think it’s better than the previous position, we’ll probably still see a quarter of the industry go very, very quiet.
“And that will definitely have an impact on employment.”http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-24/north-coast-solar-industry-worried-by-changes-to-renewable-ener/5839124
Gough Whitlam: former PM was father of Aboriginal land rights in Australia http://www.news.com.au/national/gough-whitlam-former-pm-was-father-of-aboriginal-land-rights-in-australia/story-fncynjr2-1227097636875 OCTOBER 21, 2014 GOUGH Whitlam left the political scene decades ago, but Aborigines still — and always will — acknowledge him as the father of land rights in Australia.
The Rirratjingu clan of northeast Arnhem Land today held a small smoking ceremony, led by Yothu Yindi founder Wityana Marika, and grieved for the man who forced white law to recognise our first people.
- At the time Whitlam came to power in 1972, Aborigines in northeast Arnhem Land were reeling from the 1971 Milirrpum v Nabalco case in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, which found that they had no sovereign rights to their land.
- The government of Robert Menzies had in the 1960s granted Nabalco total rights to mine bauxite on the tribal lands of the Yolngu people, without the consent of the traditional owners, whom the court later deemed did not exist in Australian law.
Whitlam, alert to the injustice, ordered the Woodward Royal Commission in 1973, which recommended the recognition of land rights in the Territory.
- Prior to this, a group of Aborigines led by Vincent Lingiari walked off Wave Hill station, in the west of the Territory, demanding equal wages and conditions and stockmen.
Their struggled morphed into a campaign for land rights, strengthened by the findings of the Woodward commission.
In 1975, Whitlam handed back the Wave Hill lease to Aborigines, famously running sand through the hand of Lingiari. He told him: “Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof in Australian law that these lands belong to the Gurindji people, and I put into your hands part of the earth as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.”
Whitlam had by then drafted the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, though would be overthrown before it became law. His successor, Malcolm Fraser, passed the legislation almost unchanged, knowing that the time for recognition had come.
- All this was possible in the Territory, because it didn’t have full state rights; and state governments were by then eyeing the land rights’ developments nervously.
They fought against land rights, fearing they would surrender huge tracts of land to traditional owners.
In 1992, national recognition finally came when the High Court heard the Mabo case and found the doctrine of terra nullius — of Australia as an empty land prior to white arrival — to be a myth.
This led to the creation of Native Title law, which gave Aborigines cultural and economic rights to their land. All of this tied directly back to Milirrpum v Nabalco.
The son of Milirrpum, Wanyubi Marika, described Whitlam as “a very important man. Before him there was no land rights. “My father lost the case because of terra nullius. Mabo picked up the land rights issue from Arnhem Land and made it clear about the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait ownership of the country.
“(Whitlam) was very helpful to our people, to our fathers. We want to think about his work and we will let his spirit be with us, going forward.”
Was the Warburton Review a complete waste of money? REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 21 October 2014
Under questioning in a Senate estimates committee, the government revealed that the Warburton review cost $587,329 – not including incidentals such as accommodation, or the salaries of staff seconded to the review…….
the costs included:
– $287,468 to modelers ACIL Allen – whose modeling, under instructions from the government, included assessing the cost of coal-fired generation while ignoring climate, carbon, financing risk, as well as community opposition. In other words, to ignore commercial reality.–
– Brian Fisher, who RenewEconomy revealed on Monday had installed a subsidised solar system on his farm this month, after recommending that solar subsidies be ditched, received $39,900. That would be about enough to install a 20kW system, about four times the size of the solar system that Fisher installed – not that the local network would have allowed him.
– Shirley In’t Veld, another climate skeptic and former head of WA’s Verve nergy, received $43,900.
– And Matt Zema, the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator, who was sitting in a “private” capacity, received $29,700.
Archer was given an uncomfortable time in the Senate Estimates committee by Greens leader Christine Milne, who asked if the Warburton Review had gone beyond its terms of reference, which was specifically to assess the price impact of the RET on consumers. (You can see it here).
Why, she asked, had the Warburton review ignored the cheapest options, and chosen the two most expensive options that would cause the biggest rises in consumer prices, the least investment, the least jobs, the biggest rise in emissions, and the greatest benefit ($9.3 billion according to the panel itself) to the coal industry?
Did it occur to the government, Milne asked, that the government had been misled by the panel – which advocated that the target be closed to new entrants, or reduced to a “real” 20 per cent target, rather than the current 41,000GWh target……….
CCA chairman Bernie Fraser told the Senate estimates committee on Monday that it will be a “limited review” because of time constraints.
“We do have a fair bit of knowledge and experience about the RET arrangements from the initial report finished 18 months ago. And we will have access to the public submissions to the Warburton Review, and the modeling that done for that review.
“That will be part of the grist to our mill,” he added, before noting that there was “quite an array of modeling out here.”
As Fraser noted, the CCA will make its judgment “independent” of the Warburton review, or the influence of Abbott’s office. That will provide an interesting backdrop to the negotiations between the Abbott government and the Labor party to try to find a “bipartisan” deal. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/warburton-review-complete-waste-money-86396
We talk to the head of the Skin and Cancer Foundation for Australia, Professor Pablo Fernandez Penas, who tells us there is no such thing as a safe tan.
Skin cancer and premature ageing are the main concerns that come from too much exposure to the sun. What can we do to adequately protect our skin this summer?
An SPF 50+ broad spectrum sunscreen will ensure you have good protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
A good rule is to apply one teaspoon to seven body points (head/neck, shoulders/arms, back, torso and legs) 15 minutes before sun exposure. Re-apply every two hours and immediately after sweating or swimming.
What’s the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
UVA and UVB are the harmful rays that reach our skin.
UVB rays are largely absorbed by the outer skin layer and are responsible for sunburn. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, are responsible for causing accelerated ageing and recent research shows UVA can also cause skin cancer…….http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/skin-and-cancer-foundation-australia-professor-says-theres-no-such-thing-as-a-safe-tan/story-fni0cx12-1227097470584
Kirsten Blair, 22 Oct 14 Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation was disappointed to learn that Ministers Ian MacFarlane and Willem Westra van Holthe had released a summary report of the investigation into the collapse of a leach tank at the Ranger uranium mine within the bounds of Kakadu National Park late last year without consulting all members of the investigation taskforce.
Gundjeihmi, which represents the Mirarr Traditional Owners of the Ranger mine site, has a position on the taskforce which was established to investigate last year’s radiological accident but was not informed of the intention to release the report yesterday.
Justin O’Brien CEO of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation said “We are bitterly disappointed that the investigation taskforce process has broken down, not for any want of trying on our part. It is critical that the recommendations of this report are fully implemented with highest priority given to a comprehensive review of the regulatory framework at Ranger, a point which the ministers have acknowledged but up to this point have not committed to act on.
“The tank collapse which sent over a million litres of radioactive acid spilling across the mine site was yet another example of the poor management and failed systems at Ranger. For Traditional Owners to gain have any confidence in the capacity of the Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) and the regulators to manage this mine the recommendations of this report must be acted on swiftly and completely.
“ERA wants to expand the Ranger mine underground. Without a comprehensive regulatory review and implementation of the remaining recommendations it would be ludicrous for the Federal Government to even consider such a proposal.” Mr O’Brien concluded