Australian news, and some related international items

The People’s Climate Mobilisation – Sunday Sept 21

In Australia, an epic Climate March will convene in Melbourne with a group committed to walking 700 km along the eastern seaboard to Canberra, arriving at Parliament to raise awareness about climate impacts. There are over 30 People’s Climate events taking place in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane, as well as on Magnetic Island on the Great Barrier Reef, in Alice Springs, Darwin and the remote mining town of Mount Isa. Organisations such as Get Up!, Avaaz, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Our Land Our Water Our Future and the Leard Alliance are working nationally to organise and support large and small events alike.


The People’s Climate Mobilisation — your chance to commit to real climate action

On Sunday 21 September, tens of thousands of people in Australia will join the global people’s march. Find out why from‘s Blair Palese. New York will be the focus of global “people’s marches” for climate action. is a global climate organisation that has rapidly expanded to become a leading voice across the world for action on climate change. Blair Palese is the Australian CEO of, and she has enormous experience in fossil fuel and oceans campaigning. is one of the primary organisers for the people’s march on 21 September, and Blair has written this guest blog to explain why tens of thousands of Australians will be marching.

This weekend will see be the biggest public climate event in history. More than 100,000 people will march in New York alone and hundreds of thousands of others will join them on the streets of 150 countries around the world, all calling for climate change action.

RT @350: Exactly 1 week to the #PeoplesClimate March worldwide – Will you be there?

This weekend also will see the heads of state from more than 125 countries, including Barack Obama and David Cameron gather in New York for a summit on climate change organised by Ban Ki Moon. This is the first time world leaders have come together on the issue since the landmark Copenhagen summit in 2009 and the UN Secretary General hopes the summit will inject new momentum to reach a global deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in Paris at the end of 2015.

Amazingly Australia’s our own prime minister, Tony Abbott, will be in New York for the UN Security Council meeting – no doubt to talk about war – but refuses to attend the Climate Summit. Although this may have come as a disappointment for the EU Commissioner for climate action, few in Australia are surprised as this government has already made its priorities and prejudices abundantly clear.

The fact that the Prime Minister of Australia, the world’s second largest exporter of coal, has chosen to shun this summit speaks volumes about why we need the People’s Climate Mobilisation. With global leaders so far failing to act in the world’s best interest to address climate change, it’s time for the global public to not only show that it is demanding change but that we will also act together to bring about the change we need. Continue reading

September 18, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Bill Shorten says Labor will not compromise on Renewable Energy Target

see-this.wayVideo No compromise on RET Australian Broadcasting Corporation Lateline  Broadcast: Shorten, Bill17/09/2014 Reporter: Jake Sturmer

Labor has ruled out any watering down of Australia’s renewable energy target, as was recommended in a recent government commissioned review.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Labor has tonight ruled out any changes to water down Australia’s Renewable Energy Target. The Government is believed to want a bipartisan compromise. The Opposition says that won’t happen. The ABC’s environment reporter Jake Sturmer has the story. ….

September 18, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott in New York – about Terror, avoiding Climate Summit

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmAbbott defends skipping UN climate meeting  HERALD SUN AAP SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 PRIME Minister Tony Abbott says he won’t be joining 125 other world leaders at a United Nations climate change summit because he has important business in parliament.

MR Abbott will travel to New York next week to participate in UN talks on Iraq and terrorism, but will miss the September 23 climate summit hosted by UN chief Ban Ki-moon…….

The government plans to put its next tranche of anti-terrorism legislation to parliament next week.

The climate summit is next Tuesday (US time) and US President Barack Obama’s special meeting of the security council is on Wednesday and Thursday, both at the UN headquarters in New York.

The European Union commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard told the ABC it was a pity the Australian prime minister couldn’t join other world leaders at the one-day summit.

It’s hoped this climate meeting will speed up negotiations for a global deal on cutting emissions at another summit in Paris in 2015.

While in New York, Mr Abbott will also deliver Australia’s national statement to the UN General Assembly and meet with key leaders ahead of November’s G20 meeting in Brisbane.

September 18, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Record high levels of radioactive Strontium at all 6 locations near Fukushima reactors

diagram-Strontium-90Ocean hits record high for radioactive Strontium at all 6 locations near Fukushima reactors — Levels up to 20 times higher than reported last week — Officials: Contamination from highly radioactive ‘debris’ is seeping into ground and flowing out to sea

TEPCO Prompt Report of Result of Analysis
, Sept. 10, 2014:

Port of Fukushima Daiichi, around Discharge Channel and Bank Protection — Seawater

This newly published data shows record levels of Strontium-90 have been detected at all 6 seawater monitoring locations in front of the destroyed reactors. At 3 of 6 locations levels are around triple the previous record set last year.

Yet a report released by TEPCO days later on Sept. 12, 2014 claims: “Results indicate efforts to protect water are succeeding… inside the port area, concentrations of radioactivity have been steadily decreasing… Strontium… nearest the reactors… show levels of 70-100 Bq/L … Strontium 90 has been reduced to approximately a third of earlier levels [and] are projected to further reduce… Strontium 90 outflows to one-fortieth of the current estimated amount of outflow.”

According to a TEPCO document from last month: “Groundwater around reactor buildings (Unit 1 to 4) is confirmed to contain radioactive materials which have mixed with rainwater having been contacted with contaminated debris left on the ground surface due to the accident… contaminated water in the buildings theoretically does not mix with the groundwater flowing around the buildings.”

See also: Strontium-90 from Fukushima found along west coast of N. America

September 18, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Energy Networks Association (ENA)

logo-ARENAARENA/ENA’s Renewable Energy Stocktake 18 Sep 14  The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Energy Networks Association (ENA) have created a partnership to create a database of renewable energy grid integration projects and findings.

Yesterday, ARENA released a stocktake of 176 Australian renewable energy grid integration projectsworth more than $4 billion; along with 60 key projects from countries including the US, Korea and Japan.

“This stocktake of relevant studies, trials and demonstration projects will provide the basis for further work and get the most out of existing information and investment,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.

“As well as being a valuable resource for the sector, the stocktake will help ARENA make better informed funding decisions about renewable energy grid integration projects.”

logo-Energy-networks-AssnENA will deliver the first two updates to ARENA’s initial stocktake late this year and next year.”Housing the latest research, studies, findings and projects in one place will make it easier for the sector to address challenges and capitalise on opportunities involved in integrating renewables into the network,” said ENA CEO John Bradley.

“The rapid increase in distributed renewable energy is upending the traditional supply system and driving an increasing need to revisit the energy network, which was originally designed for one-way delivery.”

In other ARENA related news, the Senate will likely vote on repealing ARENA in the upcoming parliamentary sitting, which begins next week. The ARENA Repeal Bill 2014l isn’t expected to pass; with Labor, the  Greens and crossbench senators indicating they will vote against it. In the meantime, it’s business as usual for the body.

Of 132 public submissions to a recent Senate Economics Legislation Committee enquiry, 129 submissions opposed the repeal of the ARENA Act.

In the 2014 Budget, the Abbott Government announced it would pursue consolidating ARENA with the Department of Industry and return $1.3B to consolidated revenue. If such a scenario were to occur; recent comments fromIndustry Minister Ian McFarlane seem to indicate it would be merged into a departmental environment rather hostile to renewables.

ARENA’s two objectives are to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, and to increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.

September 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

$200 billion predicted cost of sea level rise around Australia

Sea level rises due to climate change could cost Australia $200b, Climate Council report finds ABC Lateline By Hamish Fitzsimmons 17 Sep 2014 Future sea level rises could put more than $200 billion of Australian infrastructure at risk, a report by the Climate Council has found.

The report, Counting the Costs: Climate Change and Coastal Flooding, showed sea levels were likely to rise by between 40 centimetres and one metre over the next century.


The Climate Council succeeded the Australian Climate Commission, which was axed after the Federal Government took office last year.

The report’s lead author, Professor Will Steffen, warned national income would suffer huge losses if action was not taken to protect against rising sea levels and extreme weather events……..

The Victorian coast, the south-east corner of Queensland and Sydney would be the hardest hit by rising sea levels, the report found.

With more than 75 per cent of Australians living near the coast, Professor Steffen said large swathes of infrastructure were at risk.

“Much of our road, rail, port facilities, airports and so on are on the coast,” he said.

“If you look at a 1.1 metre sea level rise – which is the high-end scenario for 2100 but that’s what we’re tracking towards – you’re looking at more than $200 billion worth of infrastructure that’s at risk.”

Professor Steffen said so-called once-in-a-lifetime natural events could become regular occurrences.

VIDEO: Watch Hamish Fitzsimmons’ report. (Lateline)

“If you look at some of our most vulnerable areas, and the Sydney region is one of those, you would say toward the end of this century that a one-in-100-year flood is going to be happening every few days,” he said.

“That’s an impossible situation to cope with.”……..

Climate change impacting insurance premiums

The Climate Council warned sea level rises would put pressure on home insurance premiums, as rising sea levels fed coastal erosion.

Australian Local Government Association president Felicity-Ann Lewis said erosion was already causing problems for home owners.

National infrastructure within 200 metres of the coastline:

  • 120 ports
  • five power stations/substations
  • three water treatment plants
  • 258 police, fire and ambulance stations
  • 75 hospitals and health services
  • 11 emergency services facilities
  • 41 waste disposal facilities

“The insurance industry is very interested in this because some of the insurance premiums are becoming such that people can’t afford to take out insurance on their properties,” Dr Lewis said.

“This is a very big issue.”………

September 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Brain deformities, spina bifida -high rates near USA’s Hanford radioactively contaminated area

Flag-USA“It’s Terrifying”: Rapid rise in babies with missing brains and spinal cords sticking out in area surrounding most contaminated nuclear site in US — Mother: Actual number is WAY higher than officials are reporting (VIDEO)

Tweet by JoNel Aleccia
, former NBC News reporter
, Sept 2, 2014: Five pregnancies with anencephaly in Central WA state with due dates this year. State, CDC plan interviews w/ moms

After writing reports on the extremely high rate of babies missing part of their brain (anencephaly) in the 3 counties surrounding the Hanford nuclear site, Aleccia left NBC News. She is now a staff writer at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson1 Cancer Research Center and authored this Sept. 2, 2014 article: Outreach workers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are drawing on years of community connections in [the counties of Yakima, Benton, and Franklin] to raise awareness about a devastating cluster of severe birth defects that no one can explain… babies are born without parts of the skull and brain… 32 babies since 2010… there were five women in the region who reported they were pregnant with babies with anencephaly, all due later this year… “A lot of what we do is around cancer prevention, but when we hear of other things that also affect health disparities, we take it on.” State and federal officials are urging groups like the Fred Hutch team to help…

It is interesting that a cancer center is getting involved with this Hanford-area birth defect cluster, especially when that cancer center played a key role in the controversial ‘Hanford Thyroid Disease Study’.

According to a review of the study by the National Academy of Sciences: “Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle enjoyed greater public trust than the federal agencies while carrying out the HTDS… [The study's] public summary… was misleading… the results of the HTDS were presented with unqualified certainty… Statements attributed to the HTDS investigators appear to have overstated the certainty of the results [such as claiming:] ‘These results provide rather strong evidence that exposures at these levels to 131I do not increase the risk [and] consequently provide a substantial degree of reassurance to the population exposed to Hanford radiation that the exposures are not likely to have affected their thyroid.’”

NBC Right Now, Aug 1, 2014: Local Birth Defect Moms Asking Why They’re Excluded From Cluster — “It’s terrifying”… said Nikki Shelton. Her son Corbin was born just months ago with Spina Bifida… When we asked Shelton and Alicia Jones, whose son Noah has the same defect, if they were under the assumption the Department of Health was including them under their research they both said, “Yes”. “To come to find out that they’re heading onwards with anencephaly and not looking into Spina Bifida is disheartening,” explained Shelton… In Spina Bifida the baby is born with part of their spinal cord sticking out.

On the ‘Washington Neural Tube Defects Cluster’ Facebook page, Nikki Shelton recently wrote: “I wanted you all to have a few numbers to reference to see just how rapidly the Neural Tube Defects are rising in our area. The Department of Health says we are 4 times the national average but we have to be WAY higher than that!… Physicians in Washington are NOT required to report birth defects!! The hospitals also code any termination/miscarriage as a “Complication of Pregnancy”. There are many families that choose to abort once they find out their unborn child has a defect, these are NOT counted in the national average. Not to mention all the defects that are not being reported by the physicians!!!”

Perhaps state officials will see this report that was removed from their website: “Studies… reported an association between neural tube defects [anencephaly/spina bifida] and theradiation dose fathers received… This effect was observed in children whose parents received low doses while working at Hanford… Other research suggests there is reason to believe that radiation exposure before pregnancy can increase the frequency of birth defects… a study of birth defects in Washington’s Benton and Franklin counties near Hanford…. examined the number of cases of certain birth defects between 1968 and 1980.There were more neural tube defects than expected… Conclusion — As with other health effects from radiation, it is assumed that any exposure to radiation carries some risk of genetic effects and birth defects.”

Watch the broadcast on NBC Right Now here

September 18, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia becoming internationally isolated as a climate denialist


Particularly in Australia. Abbott just doesn’t want to talk about climate change at all. He wants climate off the G20 agenda. He won’t be going to the climate talks starting in New York next Tuesday, which will be attended by over 100 heads of state, including US President Barack Obama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as momentum builds for agreement on a new post-Kyoto climate deal in Paris next year. Continue reading

September 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Tasmania has vital need to keep Renewable Energy Target – Bill Shorten

map-tasmania-wind.1Bill Shorten says Renewable Energy Target vital to Tasmania’s north-west  Yahoo News September 17, 2014 Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has called on the Federal Government to support the Renewable Energy Target (RET) during a trip to Tasmania’s west coast……Mr Shorten said the Government needs to retain the RET to ensure the proposed wind farm at Granville Harbour goes ahead.

“It beggars belief that you have got up to 200 jobs just waiting to roll: 33 wind turbines, one of the windiest areas in Australia,” he said.

“The community want them, they don’t share Joe Hockey’s view that somehow wind farms are sick-making.

“They want the jobs, they want the wind farms but what they need is a government in Canberra who understands that renewable energy is not some green plot but part of the sustainable mix going forward.”

Liberal Senator David Bushby gave assurances the Federal Government had not yet decided what to do about the RET……….

 projects such as the Granville Harbour wind farms remain in doubt.

In her meeting with Mr Shorten this morning, West Coast Mayor Robyn Gerrity stressed the importance of the RET to the region.

She told 91.7 ABC Northern Tasmania that while there was not much Mr Shorten could do for the region she wanted him to support the retention of the RET to ensure the Granville wind farm went ahead.

“They could employ within weeks about 30-odd men to start doing the roadworks for it,” she said.

“The problem being, for them to source and get the final tick-off regarding financing, they’re relying on the Renewable Energy Target.”…….

September 18, 2014 Posted by | energy, politics, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Australia to keep Renewable Energy Target? Pressure from Solar Council and Opposition parties

Pressure builds on Abbott government to relent on renewable energy cuts  September 17, 2014 –   Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Confidence is growing among clean energy supporters that the Abbott government will be forced to back down over plans to make deep cuts to the renewable energy target (RET).

The industry is taking heart from the solid opposition so far from Labor, the Greens and the Palmer United Party to any government attempt to make a significant reduction to the current targets.

Grimes,-John--solar“There is a very strong mood in the community and industry that the RET shouldn’t be cut back in any way,” said John Grimes, chair of the Australian Solar Council. “This is an issue that Australians feel strongly and passionately about.”

The council has taken its campaign to retain the existing targets – which include raising the annual supply of renewable energy to 41 terawatt-hours a year by 2020 – to marginal Coalition electorates, with another rally held in Barton on Sydney’s southern fringe on Wednesday evening.

The council has taken its campaign to retain the existing targets – which include raising the annual supply of renewable energy to 41 terawatt-hours a year by 2020 – to marginal Coalition electorates, with another rally held in Barton on Sydney’s southern fringe on Wednesday evening.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, his climate change spokesman Mark Butler and Greens leader Christine Milne are speaking at the event at the Ramsgate RSL, with a statement from Clive Palmer offering strong backing for the RET.

‘Sue for peace’

An advisor to the one of the three parties said the Abbott government had no choice but “to sue for peace” after it broke the Coalition’s previous bipartisan support for renewable energy with Labor and the Greens…….

Mr Grimes said the Solar Council plans to campaign in 20 electorates and during the state elections for NSW, Victoria and Queensland over the next half year or so.

“We’re only going to get stronger, not weaker,” he said. About 1.3 million households now have solar panels and the rate is rising by about 15,000 per month.

Ric Brazzale from Green Energy Markets said public take up of solar panels is holding steady, with commercial take-up on the increase. Last month, installers placed about 15,600 solar systems on roof-tops, adding about 68 megawatts of new capacity, he said.

September 18, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Labor committed to keeping Renewable Energy Target unchanged: Palmer also

Labor rules out making changes to scale down Renewable Energy Target 7 News,  BY ENVIRONMENT AND SCIENCE REPORTER JAKE STURMER September 18, 2014 Labor has ruled out negotiating with the Federal Government to scale back the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The Government is believed to be searching for a bipartisan compromise to scale back the green scheme, which was put in place by the Howard Government.

It was tweaked in 2010 to ensure that 20 per cent of Australia’s power would be generated by renewable resources by 2020.
It effectively gives industry support to renewables at the expense of established fossil fuel electricity generators.

A Government-commissioned review last month recommended closing the large scheme to new entrants and shutting it by 2030, or that it be ditched with the renewable sector limited to a 50 per cent share of new growth in electricity demand.

The Government is yet to reveal its position on the review but it is understood to be looking for a middle ground…………

 The Australian Solar Council is not waiting – it has already held three “save solar” meetings in marginal electorates.
The most recent meeting was held in the Liberal held seat of Barton in southern Sydney, which is held by just 489 votes.

Labor leader Bill Shorten used the opportunity to hose down talk that he would accept any negative change to the RET.
He was asked by one of the 200 audience members to promise that he would not negotiate down from what the current position is.

“We’re not about to abandon all the principles and the details of what you just said,” Mr Shorten said………Mr Shorten’s office later told the ABC that there would be no negotiation that would result in the scaling back of the RET.

The Palmer United Party also reiterated its position that it did not support any change to the scheme………

September 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Leonardo di Caprio at UN Climate Summit: Abbott spurning this meeting!

Map-Abbott-climateLeonardo DiCaprio named UN messenger of peace for climate, SMH September 17, 2014 Hollywood actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has been named a United Nations Messenger of Peace, a post he will use to raise awareness about climate change, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday.

DiCaprio will address a UN summit meeting on climate change on Sept. 23, a day before the UN General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders begins. Many leaders from the 193 member states of the United Nations are expected to attend the climate session.

“Leonardo DiCaprio is not just one of the world’s leading actors,” Ban said. “He has also a long-standing commitment to environmental causes, including through his foundation.”

In 1998, the actor established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, whose mission is protecting Earth’s last wild places and building a more harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world, the United Nations said in a statement. The organisation has contributed funds toward protecting tigers in Nepal, elephants in the wild, and marine animals, including sharks.

“I feel a moral obligation to speak out at this key moment in human history – it is a moment for action,” DiCaprio was quoted as saying in the statement. “How we respond to the climate crisis in the coming years will likely determine the fate of humanity and our planet.”

DiCaprio, 39, added that it was an honor for him to accept the post.


September 18, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Joe Hockey again says wind farms are ‘appalling’

Audio: Wind farms are ruining the landscape and are ‘appalling’, Treasurer Joe Hockey says, ABC News PM By James Glenday  17 Sep 2014,  Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has made more critical comments about the way wind farms look, describing them as “appalling”……in May, he said the wind farm at Lake George near Canberra was “utterly offensive” and a “blight on the landscape”.

Yesterday, at the Bloomberg Summit in Sydney he was asked if he would repeat the comments.

“Yes, I would,” Mr Hockey said……..

Hockey’s comments ‘utterly unhelpful’

Infigen Energy, the company that owns the Capital Wind Farm, is not amused by the comments.

Managing director Miles George has been outspoken in his criticism of the Abbott Government’s approach to the renewable energy sector and said Mr Hockey’s comments were “utterly unhelpful”.

“I just don’t think it’s appropriate to contemplate that the view of one motorist 10 kilometres away from the wind farm is relevant in any discussion of renewably energy generally,” he said.

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Wind farms ruin the landscape and look ‘appalling': Hockey (PM)

“As I understand it, Mr Hockey, poor people don’t drive cars so they wouldn’t see that wind farm anyway. Perhaps that’s the counter to that argument.”…..

September 18, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Risks of uranium mining outweigh any benefits

text-uranium-hypeAnti-uranium activists criticise NSW exploration program, Australian Mining 15 September, 2014 Vicky Validakis Anti-nuclear campaigners have criticised the NSW government for opening up the state to uranium exploration.

Last week the state government invited six companies to apply for exploration licences.

The move comes two years after NSW overturned a uranium exploration ban. Mining uranium is still restricted.

Three locations around NSW – near Broken Hill, near Cobar and south of Dubbo – have been earmarked for drilling activity.

Natalie Wasley, spokeswomen for the Beyond Nuclear Initiative, said the decision was disappointing, ABC reported.

“Uranium has very unique and dangerous properties and risks,” Wasley said. “It’s linked to the production of the world’s most toxic and long-lasting industrial waste, as well as proliferation of the world’s most destructive weapons, so it poses a risk to workers, to communities and the environment.”

Wasley said the sector will only create a small number of jobs, and claims the risks associated with uranium outweigh any economic benefits. “We know that in rural and regional areas there’s a much better opportunity for long-lasting sustainable jobs in the renewable sector.”

“We’d really encourage those local governments and the state governments to be putting money and resources into developing more creative, long-term and sustainable jobs for people.”……..

The six companies invited to apply for licenses are Australian Zirconia, Callabonna Resources, EJ Resources, Hartz Rare Earths, Iluka Resources and Marmota Energy.

September 16, 2014 Posted by | business, New South Wales, rare earths, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium mining still prohibited in New South Wales, and not considered economically viable

Uranium exploration in western NSW – but mining is still prohibited  NSW Country Hour  Sally Bryant and Julie Clift  15 Sept 14, The New South Wales Government has invited six mining companies to put in expressions of interest to explore for uranium, but mining will remain prohibited, until deposits prove economically viable.

However not all of the mining companies who are involved in this process are actually interested in mining for uranium.

One of six companies invited to tender for an exploration licence, Alkane Resources, is developing a rare earth project near Dubbo, in the state’s central west.

Alkane say they’re not interested in uranium, that they are merely protecting their rare earth project from other resource companies applying for an exploration licence over the top of them

Managing Director Ian Chalmers says this is an insurance policy for his company……..

September 16, 2014 Posted by | business, New South Wales, rare earths, uranium | Leave a comment


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