Well, Australia seems to be doing not too well in environmental matters, (nor in most others, at present). The sooner we get rid of the Abbott government, the better.
I’ve tried to be non political – because our land, our water, our air, our planet – these matters are beyond party politics. That is something that some Liberals are now realising.
The mass Climate Action Marches on September 21st showed that Australians care. On the local level, so many Australians, including Liberals, are working to conserve the wildlife, our water and land, and many are members of groups like Landcare, Australian Koala Foundation, and the most prominent activist groups – Australian Conservation Foundation, Friends of the Earth, and Beyond Nuclear.
Australia’s environmentalists do have quite a proud history of achievement in environmental goals, really, a remarkable record in awakening public opinion and in slowing down polluting industries. It is thanks to the work of Australians like Dr Helen Caldicott that the atmospheric nuclear bomb tests in the Pacific were stopped. It is thanks to the anti-nuclear movement that Australia does not have the nightmare of nuclear power.
Australians in general do have a strong appreciation of nature. They also seem to be showing a keen appreciation of the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy. The September Climate March, is, I believe, the start of a stronger movement for public awareness of our ecological peril, and for action for positive change.
Northern Territory groups condemn Chief Minister Adam Giles’ last ditch effort to get nuclear waste dump
NO NT DEAL BY DEADLINE FOR NUCLEAR DUMP PLAN 1 Oct 14, The Environment Centre of the NT and Beyond Nuclear Initiative have today condemned Chief Minister Adam Giles’ last ditch effort to secure a nuclear waste dump site in the Northern Territory as a risky and short-sighted plan that goes against the clear wishes of the majority of Territorians.
A deadline set by Federal Resources Minister Ian MacFarlane expires today in which Aboriginal Land Councils and the NT Government could nominate a site for consideration as Australia’s first national radioactive waste dump. Without an NT site on offer, the Federal Minister will potentially open the nomination process to a national field from mid-November.
Lauren Mellor, Nuclear-free NT Campaigner stated: “The process for selecting an NT dump site has been a near decade long self-described disaster for successive Federal Governments. Instead of heeding the loud and consistent objections from targeted communities, transport workers and residents of towns along the transport route, the NT Chief Minister has thrown his weight behind a divisive, unpopular and irresponsible waste dump plan.”
“Every NT community that has been approached to host the dump since 2005 has overwhelmingly rejected the plan, choosing to protect country and the health of their community instead of being enticed by the compensation package on offer.”
Natalie Wasley from the Beyond Nuclear Initiative said, “Adam Giles and Federal Minister Ian Macfarlane cannot ignore the nine-year campaign waged by people across the Territory rejecting a national nuclear waste dump. Any attempts to nominate another NT site will be deeply unpopular- and challenged.
“Environment groups want to advance radioactive waste management in ways that ensures the environment is protected along with the rights of people living in remote communities. It is time to stop throwing darts at the map in the desperate search for a remote site. The end of the NT nomination period today should be the start of an evidence-based approach to radioactive waste management in the form of an independent, national commission”.
Lauren Mellor, Environment Centre NT (Darwin) 0413 534 125
Natalie Wasley, Beyond Nuclear Initiative (Alice Springs) 0429 900 774
some in the climate justice movement have remained silent or have even supported nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is too expensive and takes too long to come on-line. Nuclear power creates pollution nightmares from the excavation of uraniumthrough processing and the radioactive waste that is produced. The limited time and money we have to make necessary changes is better used to increase efficiency and develop clean, sustainable energy. The climate justice movement must recognize that nuclear power is a false, unnecessary ‘solution’ and work for a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy.
With The People’s Climate March Behind Us, What’s Next? Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers 1 October 14 Popular Resistance
The climate action weekend built around the People’s Climate March proved that the climate movement has broad popular support and millions are ready to mobilize. These are two ingredients necessary to achieve climate justice. Also needed is a strategy that is widely understood so people recognize their work is connected to a larger movement and their actions are more effective.
Governments are sold out to big corporate interests who profit from dirty energy and false market-based climate change ‘solutions.’ Climate justice advocates must stop the government from doing more damage while creating new systems that allow us to stop participating in the dirty energy economy. A great power of social justice movements is noncompliance, but to not comply we need to be able to live in ways that are consistent with climate justice.
Thus, the climate justice movement needs to proceed on two paths at the same time. One is to stop government and big business from worsening the climate crisis. The other is to create new systems so people can disengage from the climate-catastrophe economy. Government and business have shown themselves incapable of responding to the climate crisis, making the second track particularly important. Continue reading
Adam Giles may offer NT nuclear waste site if traditional owners fail to nominate location 105.7 ABC Darwin By Rick Hind 1 Oct 2014, NT Chief Minister Adam Giles has suggested his Government may put up a site for a national nuclear waste dump if traditional owners fail to nominate one.
Traditional owners in the Northern Territory were asked to nominate their land for a nuclear waste facility by September 30.
Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane had indicated that if a site was not nominated, a selection process involving land owners from anywhere else in the country would start in November……..
“We haven’t decided whether we will at the moment, but I think we will look at it if the land councils don’t nominate a site,” he said…….
“Potentially it’s an economic opportunity for the Territory, but it’s also an opportunity for the Northern Territory to show leadership on the national stage about where to store nuclear waste,” Mr Giles said……..
However, Mr Giles added that any discussion of a possible location for a waste facility was jumping the gun.
“Let’s not get too far in this argument because we haven’t done all the analysis at this stage,” he said……..
The Northern Land Council and the Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have declined to comment until the nomination deadline passes. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-30/giles-may-offer-up-nuclear-waste-site-if-traditional-owners-dont/5779394
See below a very strong critique of the Australia-India nuclear cooperation agreement from John Carlson, former head of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, who worked tirelessly for many years to weaken safeguards standards …
It is not good enough to simply say that we trust India because it has an ‘impeccable’ non-proliferation record (and India’s record in any case is not ‘impeccable’).The reporting procedures are not optional; they are fundamental to Australia’s ability to confirm that our safeguards conditions are being met. They have long applied to close and trusted partners such as the US, the EU, Japan and South Korea. There is absolutely no case to waive them for India.
Is the Abbott Government abandoning Australia’s nuclear safeguards standards for India? John Carlson AM is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute. He was Director General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office and its predecessor the Australian Safeguards Office from 1989 to 2010. Lowy Interpreter, 1 October 2014http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/?COLLCC=737147385&
The signing last month of a civil nuclear cooperation agreement between Australia and India has been greeted as an important step towards closer relations between the two countries, as well as bringing India into the global nuclear energy mainstream. These are worthy objectives, but not at any cost. Continue reading
Australia’s 2013 heatwave due to climate change, researchers conclude http://www.theage.com.au/environment/australias-2013-heatwave-due-to-climate-change-researchers-conclude-20140930-10o1sj.html September 30, 2014 Lisa Cox National political reporter Record temperatures in Australia in 2013 were almost certainly caused by man-made climate change, five separate studies have found.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University and the University of NSW have concluded it is “virtually impossible” that the heatwaves that hit Australia in 2013 would have occurred were it not for carbon emissions caused by human activity.
The reports have been published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as part of a global project examining the impact of climate change on extreme weather.
The results, which are the strongest statement yet on the impact of climate change on Australia’s weather patterns, are a wake-up call for the Abbott government a week after it was criticised for failing to take beefed-up emissions reduction targets to a special summit of world leaders in New York.
Five teams of researchers examined the heat that baked Australia for much of 2013, leading to the hottest day, month, spring and summer since records began.
They concluded that the record temperatures for the whole of that year would almost certainly not have occurred without man-made climate change and that the chance of heatwaves occurring was more than 2000 times greater because of human-caused climate change.
Professor David Karoly, one of the authors, said the results mark the first time that researchers had concluded that a specific weather event couldn’t or most likely couldn’t have occurred in Australia without the increase in greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.
“The Prime Minister last year said that studies hadn’t been done and the CSIRO cautioned against attributing individual extreme weather events to climate change,” Professor Karoly said.
“Now the studies have been done and the results are very clear.”
The teams of researchers used a variety of computer-based simulations that modelled 20th and early 21st century temperatures.
One set of models factored in natural variations in climate and human influences on climate, while another set showed what temperatures would have looked like without man-made climate change.
Out of 12,500 simulated years, only one result in the latter group produced temperatures higher than those seen in Australia in 2005 – the hottest year before 2013 – and none as hot as 2013.
“There was an increase in the frequency of heatwaves in 2013 and the intensity of heatwaves due to climate change,” Professor Karoly said “It was three times the frequency and two times the intensity.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott predicts $30 billion Olympic Dam expansion will go ahead POLITICAL EDITOR TORY SHEPHERD THE ADVERTISER SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 A $30 billion Olympic Dam expansion is likely to go ahead “in the months and years ahead”, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.
BHP Billiton shelved the expansion plans in the face of low commodity prices and spiralling costs. However the expansion moved a step closer recently, after the Government waived stringent environmental tests to let them trial a cheaper way of processing minerals…….
BHP Billiton is expected to give more detail on their plans at their AGM in Adelaide in November. Chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has said they have reduced costs and might be able to go ahead with a smaller or incremental expansion.
Before the election Mr Abbott pledged to create the economic conditions that would give the expansion the best chance of going ahead.
Federal ministers have met with BHP and have been talking up the prospects of the expansion …….http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/prime-minister-tony-abbott-predicts-30-billion-olympic-dam-expansion-will-go-ahead/story-fni6uo1m-1227075708200
Former Tokai mayor says Japan is sleep-walking toward further nuclear disasters, Fukushima Emergency what can we do? Sep 30, 2014 TOKAI, IBARAKI PREF. – The Fukushima nuclear disaster reflects a failure by the government to learn from Japan’s first deadly nuclear accident 15 years ago in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, according to the village’s former mayor.
Speaking to around 350 people at a public meeting there Sunday, Tatsuya Murakami said the nation glossed over the Tokai disaster and upheld a “myth” about the safety of nuclearpower.
The accident at a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the village occurred on Sept. 30, 1999. It left two people dead.
He said the safety myth and failure to clarify exactly why the accident took place led to mistakes that resulted in the Fukushima debacle……….http://fukushimaemergencywhatcanwedo.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/former-tokai-mayor-says-japan-is-sleep.html
Members of Ngapa Aboriginal clan complain about ‘obstruction’ to their volunteering to host nuclear waste
Pro-nuclear owners accuse land council of holding them back Amos Aikman THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 01, 2014 THE Northern Land Council has blocked Aboriginal economic advancement by “obstructing” traditional owners’ attempts to gain millions of dollars in development aid by hosting nuclear waste on their land at Muckaty Station, according to a formal complaint obtained by The Australian.
A three-month window for Aboriginal land councils to bid exclusively to host a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory expired last night with no nominations. The window was established in June after the NLC controversially withdrew a longstanding nomination to host Australia’s nuclear waste at Muckaty Station near Tennant Creek.
Anti-nuclear groups at the time hailed the decision as a victory. But members of the Ngapa clan, who are part of the Muckaty Land Trust and have not hitherto spoken publicly, told The Australian they were not properly consulted and are now contemplating taking multi-million-dollar legal action.
The group has since been trying to nominate a second site at Muckaty Station, under development since 2012 and believed to be on undisputed Ngapa land. The Australian has seen a petition dated in June, purportedly signed by 59 traditional owners, expressing support for a new nomination.
The NLC is legally obliged to act on behalf of traditional owners. But according to a formal complaint sent to Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion earlier this month, it has “failed to take any meaningful action” to support the second nomination, leading to an “impending loss of opportunity” for the Ngapa people.
Jason Bill, one of the aggrieved parties named in the complaint, told The Australianit had been a “tough road” for his family, which began moves to host a nuclear waste dump in 2005.
It is estimated traditional owners could gain between $12 million and $20m in compensation.
The complaint requests “urgent consideration is given to the unique circumstances of our clients who are currently being obstructed by the NLC from making an urgent new nomination”……..
Senator Scullion told The Australian shortly after receiving the complaint that the allegations were “of the most serious nature … and we are seeking advice on how best to investigate and pursue the matter. The traditional owners say they’ve been aggrieved by the actions of a commonwealth authority,” he said.
“This is a matter of mischief by a commonwealth authority.”
NLC chief executive Joe Morrison said his organisation had acted properly and was being thorough.
“(The Ngapa) approved dropping the original bid … I think we consulted with them appropriately.” http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/pronuclear-owners-accuse-land-council-of-holding-them-back/story-fn9hm1pm-1227075690477
“It’s best understood as the latest chapter in a long-running saga of how Australia deals with radioactive waste. We’ve got this spent nuclear fuel which is high level nuclear waste and later classified as long-lived intermediate level waste and that’s sent overseas for reprocessing and that’s the waste that’s going to come back.”
Government searching for nuclear waste site as time runs out SBS News 30 Sept 14, Next year more than 11 tonnes of Australian nuclear waste will return from France after being sent overseas more than a decade ago. The government now faces the difficult and controversial task of finding a permanent home for it…….
Next year, more than 11 tonnes of nuclear waste will return to Australia after being sent to France more than a decade ago.
There, it’s been reprocessed into a more stable – but still highly radioactive – form.
Lucas Heights Plant Manager, David Vittorio explains.
“Reactor fuel is created in a form that’s useful for reactors. It’s not actually a form that’s useful for long-term storage so the whole idea of reprocessing is repackaging it into a chemical form and a materials form so that it’s suitable for long-term storage,” he says.
“So really what we’re receiving from France is in a glass matrix, suitable for long term storage.”
Under an agreement with France, Australia must take back the reprocessed waste in 2015. Continue reading
French company AREVA will get to have 51% interest , later more, in joint uranium venture with Toro Energy
Toro signs NT deal with AREVA https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/wa/a/25132512/toro-signs-nt-deal-with-areva/ The West AustralianSeptember 29, 2014 Toro Energy has signed a farm-in and joint venture agreement with French uranium and nuclear power giant AREVA in the Northern Territory.
The agreement covers a 2292sqkm tenement package in the Wiso Basin, southwest of Tennant Creek.
“Toro believes that its relatively unexplored Wiso Basin tenement package is ideally placed for exploring for a sandstone-hosted uranium mineralising system of a size and scale not unlike those found in Kazakhstan, where six of the world’s top 15 producing uranium mines are currently in operation,” the company said in a statement.
Toro’s managing director Dr Vanessa Guthrie said the company was excited to have AREVA participate in a substantial exploration portfolio at a time when few companies were actively exploring for uranium in Australia.
“We look forward to adding value to our NT exploration targets through a long and beneficial relationship with one of the world’s most respected uranium groups,” she said. Under the terms of the agreement, AREVA will spend $500,000 within two years of to earn a 51 per cent interest in the joint venture properties.
Upon reaching 51 per cent, AREVA will then have the option to spend another $1.5 million over four years for a further 29 per cent interest for a total 80 per cent stake.
Drilling is expected to begin in the first half of 2015.
Toro shares closed steady at 9.1 cents.
“Speaking with one voice” – WA’s changes to Aboriginal Heritage law rejected at bush meetings, anthropologist Dr Stephen Bennetts. Be careful what you pray for. By proposing to strip away protection for Aboriginal people’s heritage across the board, and throughout the State, the Barnett Government appears to have unwittingly conjured up a strong, united and angry Aboriginal coalition which is now mobilising against the AHA amendments. Crikey, 30 Sept 14 BOB GOSFORD | SEP 30, 2014
ABORIGINAL LEADERS IN THE KIMBERLEY, PILBARA AND PERTH HAVE REJECTED WA GOVERNMENT PLANS TO AMEND THE STATE’S ABORIGINAL HERITAGE ACT TO FURTHER STREAMLINE PROVISIONS UNDER SECTION 18 OF THE AHA WHICH ALLOW FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF ABORIGINAL SITES BY DEVELOPERS. Continue reading
Renewable energy target (RET) talks to begin between the Coalition and Labor, ABC News, AM 30 Sept 14 By political reporter Naomi Woodley The Federal Opposition has indicated it will be pushing for a precise energy use target represented by gigawatt hours, as it begins negotiations with the Government over the future of the renewable energy target (RET).
Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler has responded to an invitation from the Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, for a meeting to discuss the RET.
“We start from a position which says the existing renewable energy policy has worked terrifically well for Australia, but beyond that I’ll do Ian Macfarlane the courtesy of hearing what he has to say and do all that we can to get this very successful policy, very critically important policy back on the rails,” Mr Butler told AM.
The RET calls for 20 per cent of Australia’s energy use to be sourced from renewable energy by 2020, and the legislation specifies that target as 41,000 gigawatt hours.
………”I’ve said in my correspondence that we won’t support the recommendations from the Warburton review,” Mr Butler said.
“We don’t think they are supported by any evidence.
“We’ve also heard pretty clearly that their implementation would devastate investment in the sector.”
Mr Macfarlane initially indicated he would like to present the Government’s response to the Warburton review within a month, but that timeframe has been revised. ……..
Neither the Government nor Opposition would be drawn on whether either would seek to extend the timetable for the 20 per cent target beyond 2020. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-30/labor-to-begin-talks-with-coalition-over-renewable-energy-target/5777836
Up to 100 people from around the region waved placards out the front of New England MP Barnaby Joyce’s electorate office in Tamworth on Friday.
They were protesting against suggestions the federal government should scrap the target, which aims to achieve 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020. At the rally Mr Joyce said it was his priority to ensure electricity was affordable for residents.
His state counterpart, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said he was of a different opinion to Mr Joyce and the federal government.
He has thrown his support behind retaining the target, saying he wanted to see the state exceed the 20 per cent target.
“It cannot be refuted that renewable energy benefits consumers, helps energy security by diversifying sources and cuts greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Marshall said…..Mr Marshall said any changes would create uncertainty for businesses.
“To shift the goal posts now would be to risk these projects being scuppered and a potential loss of economic and environmental gains for our region,” Mr Marshall said. http://www.armidaleexpress.com.au/story/2594687/joyce-targeted-over-renewable-energy-target/?cs=12
What neither industry likes to talk about is the pricing of the network – did they invest too much money in network infrastructure, and shouldn’t they take a write down on those assets, rather than just charging customers more?.
Gas networks attack solar policies, fearing mass defections By Giles Parkinson on 26 September 2014 Gas industry calls for solar hot water rebates to remove to try to slow down mass defections from gas networks it fears will be caused by soaring gas prices.
The Energy Network Association has released a report that suggests the industry could lose one quarter of its customers as a result of soaring prices. It says 1.15 million households could drop gas and defect to solar hot water in coming years. Continue reading