Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australian government policy ensures uncertainty about future of renewable energy

Abbott-destroys-renewablesAt the end of the day, developers need surety that policy decisions will not affect the future financial viability of their projects. Until then they will continue to sit on the fence and wait – to the detriment of the renewable energy sector as a whole

Why has investment in renewable energy projects stalled?   The Conversation,  Craig Froome, 23 Nov 14, Global Change Institute – Clean Energy Program Manager at The University of Queensland

“……. An uncertain futureThe RET has come under much scrutiny in recent months as the federal government attempts to wind it back. This has also seen the government — both federal and state — take a negative approach to policy measures that promote more renewable energy in the energy system.

The result is that many proposed projects that factored in income from the RET have been put on hold, due to the uncertainty of their future income. In the shadow of this uncertainty, finding finance for projects is also a major issue as financiers become more wary. Continue reading

November 23, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Crazy winters driven by global warming?

climate-changeThere’s growing evidence that global warming is driving crazy winters, SMH, November 22, 2014  Chris Mooney It may be the timeliest – and most troubling – idea in climate science.

Back in 2012, two researchers with a particular interest in the Arctic, Rutgers’ Jennifer Francis and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Stephen Vavrus, published a paper called “Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes.” In it, they suggested that the fact that the Arctic is warming so rapidly is leading to an unexpected but profound effect on the weather where the vast majority of Americans live – a change that, if their theory is correct, may have something to do with the extreme winter weather the US has seen lately.

In their paper, Francis and Vavrus suggested that a rapidly warming Arctic should interfere with the jet stream, the river of air high above us that flows eastward around the northern hemisphere and brings with it our weather. Sometimes, the jet stream flows relatively directly from west to east; but other times, it takes long, wavy loops, as in the image above. And according to Francis and Vavrus, Arctic warming should make the jet stream more wavy and loopy on average – some have called it “drunk” – with dramatic weather consequences.

Here’s the atmospheric physics behind the idea: Warm air expands, and naturally there is much more warm air at the equator than at the poles. Thus, the atmosphere is thicker at the equator, and the jet stream’s motion is driven by the decline in atmospheric thickness as one moves in a poleward direction – in effect, its atmospheric river flows “downhill,” in Francis’s words. However, if the Arctic is warming faster than the mid-latitudes, then the difference in thickness as you move in a poleward direction should decrease. And this should slow the jet stream, leading to more loops and turns – and consequently, weather of all types getting stuck in place for longer. There’s a nice video explanation of this by Francis here:

According to Francis, the extreme US winter of last year and now, the extremes at the beginning of this season, fit her theory. “This winter looks a whole lot like last winter, it’s a very amplified jet stream pattern,” she says. “We know that when we get these patterns, it tends to be very persistent. And it is definitely the type of pattern that we expect to see more often as the Artic continues to warm so fast.”………..

You can’t call Francis’s idea fully established. You can’t say there’s a “scientific consensus” on it. And you can’t say that the august UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change embraces it. Not yet. But it’s certainly a very serious idea and one of the most discussed theories in climate science. Call it a contender. And if it’s right, well … then we all know, already, what global warming feels like.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/theres-growing-evidence-that-global-warming-is-driving-crazy-winters-20141122-11rq9v.html#ixzz3K1NykOCj

November 23, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aboriginals rally against closure of 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia

Protests against closure of 150 Aboriginal communities, Green Left   Saturday, November 22, 2014 By Alex SalmonPerth

Aboriginal activists rallied on the steps of parliament house in Perth on November 12 to protest against the Western Australian government’s plan to close 150 remote Aboriginal communities. The rally also condemned the federal government’s plan to cut funding to 180 remote indigenous communities in Western Australia. Bropho, from the Swan Valley Nyungah community, told the rally: “Closing down these communities will only make more people homeless and [in] despair.

“The way we choose to live should be our choice. We shouldn’t have the domination of government people telling us how to live and where to live. We will fight to get our community and our land back. Our fight will continue.”

In an open letter to Colin Barnett on November 17, Nyungah activist Iva Hayward Jackson said that only a small amount of the revenue from the mining would be needed to cover the costs of maintaining these communities and other improvements and that “it’s only fair to share in the richness of the land with the idea of equality in the treatment of Aboriginal people.

“After all, Aboriginal people are the traditional ‘owners’ of the land and waterways that holds all the precious resources that made Australia a rich and wealthy country in the modern world.” Amnesty International released a statement urging the Western Australian government not to forcibly evict Aboriginal people from the communities, as demolishing houses and denying indigenous people the right to practice their culture is a breach of human rights and international law.

Tammy Solonec, a human rights lawyer working with Amnesty International, slammed the hypocrisy of Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett for admitting that closing the communities will be traumatic for the people involved, while continuing a policy that will force indigenous people to break their connections to land and culture and force them to move to larger towns where they will have greater exposure to drugs, alcohol, violence and crime……….https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/57858

November 23, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Australia’s Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons development and our banks are happy to provide capital as well.

piggy-bank-nuke
Although the fund is governed by an independent board headed by former treasurer Peter Costello, Cormann is ultimately responsible and the fund’s investment decisions are not always free from political interference.
Future Fund betting on the nuclear arms race, THE SATURDAY PAPER, NOV 22, 2014 JAMES NORMAN Australia’s Future Fund invests in nuclear weapons development and our banks are happy to provide capital as well.  On August 9, 2013, Future Fund CEO Mark Burgess encountered some unexpected visitors at his Melbourne office. A group of about 20 protesters gathered outside his office doors, some dressed from head to toe as nuclear missiles, before being escorted away by police. The human missiles turned up again a few weeks later at the fund’s Sydney office, demanding answers about its investment portfolio, which includes nuclear weapons.

The protesters were drawing attention to the fact that the federal government’s $101 billion Future Fund invests more than $260 million in foreign companies involved in the manufacture of nuclear weapons (and that figure has increased by $33 million since last June)…….. Continue reading

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry, and hence the uranium industry – on the road to collapsing

The nuclear house of cards Online opinion,  By Mia Pepper –  Thursday, 20 November 2014  “…….. While the nuclear ideologues are charging ahead, many investors are treading carefully.

Mining journalist Dryblower this week made an interesting distinction between uranium and other minerals: “Because uranium is really not part of the pure mining industry but an arm of the nuclear industry it’s easy to understand why most investors prefer simpler metals where there is a chance that a discovery can be brought into production without incurring multiple layers of complexity.”………..

The marginal and short-term increase in uranium is hardly cause for celebration. Even from the miners’ point of view, there is little to celebrate since the current price is barely half that needed to make new mines viable or profitable.

All this excitement is really based on the hope from the industry that there will be a long-term increase in the demand for uranium. Often pointing to new build reactors in India and China, the industry is optimistic.

uranium-money

However according the World Nuclear Industry Status Report of 2014 there are currently 39 operating reactors that are operating over their 40 year life expectancy and due for closure. The report projects a long term decline in the number of reactors after 2020.

Likewise, in a report released last week the International Energy Agency warns of a looming “wave of retirements” of ageing reactors with almost 200 of the 434 reactors expected to be shut down by 2040. IEA chief economist Faith Bristolsaid: “I am afraid we are not well-prepared in terms of policies and funds which are devoted to decommissioning. A major concern for all of us is how we are going to deal with this massive surge in retirements in nuclear power plants.”

In the face of nuclear war, nuclear disaster, public opposition, financial struggle, and the growth and competitiveness of renewable technologies, the house of cards that is the nuclear industry is bound to collapse again. http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=16869

November 22, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

France’s ambitious goals for renewable energy contrast with Abbott’s plans to crush renewable energy development

France, Australia take diverging paths to renewable energy  http://www.fierceenergy.com/story/france-australia-take-diverging-paths-renewable-energy/2014-11-19   November 19, 2014 | By  While France has set ambitious goals to increase the share of renewables in its energy portfolio, Australia has taken a completely opposite approach — repealing its 2011 Clean Energy Act, which established a carbon pricing mechanism, according
to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

solar-farm-Hanwha-FranceFrance’s lower house of parliament recently set a target of 32 percent energy generation from renewable sources by 2030, as part of the approval of the country’s energy transition law. The law also aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels and cut fossil fuel use by 30 percent.  (at left, France’s Hanwha solar farm)

 

In contrast, since Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott assumed power in September 2013, he has made radical changes to the country’s energy policy, including abolishing the carbon tax and reducing a goal to install one million solar roofs. “France is committed to increasing its share of renewable energy, with Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and tradable green certificates being the main types of support. The country also has plans to decrease its nuclear power share from the current 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025,” said Pranav Srivastava, power analyst, GlobalData. “Meanwhile, Australia’s renewable energy targets that are currently under review may be significantly reduced, although the opposition Australian Labor Party is refusing to accept the level of reductions proposed. The country’s renewable policy review has severely affected the industry, as investments in the sector were low in the first half of 2014, lower than since the first half of 2001.”

Effective from July 2014, Australia’s minimum retailer FiT price has been cut from $0.076 per kilowatt hour (kWh) to $0.06/kWh, according to the analyst.

While Australia’s alternative energy space has been hit hard, France is pressing forward with plans to promote the industry.

“France plans to invest about €10 billion ($13.41 billion) in renewable energy to cut the country’s oil and gas bill and reduce its reliance upon nuclear energy,” Srivastava said. “The development of renewable power plants will help the country to create more jobs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.”

For more:
– see this report 

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott lectures French President on need for action on climate change!

Abbott-pants-on-fireAbbott finds his French Connection on emission controls, The Age, November 19, 2014 Mark Kenny and David Wroe Tony Abbott has called on countries to set strong binding emissions reductions targets at next year’s major climate conference in Paris, warning the world cannot afford another disappointment like the Copenhagen summit in 2009.

And after years of arguing that Australia should only move faster once major polluters also moved, he has now described climate change as “an important subject”  and one “the world needs to tackle as a whole”.

The declaration followed one-on-one talks with his French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, in Canberra ranging across trade, security and the need for binding emissions targets. ……..

Mr Abbott’s softening, however, has not convinced everyone, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten slamming his comments as “lip service”.

“He fought tooth and nail to keep climate change off the G20 agenda – and he failed,” Mr Shorten said.

“Climate change is a major economic issue, the defining issue of the 21st Century according to Ban Ki-Moon – the only person who doesn’t seem to get that is Tony Abbott.

“Tony Abbott’s stubborn isolationism is not only costing Australia our economic competitiveness but also our international reputation.”

It also brought a hostile reaction from Greens leader Christine Milne. She accused him of telling “outright lies” to appease foreign leaders and the international media.

“This is not a cheeky sleight of hand. This is Australia’s climate denying prime minister telling outright lies to world leaders and international media,” said Senator Milne.

“Tony Abbott does not intend to ‘do more’ to tackle climate change. He intends to undo more, and add the CEFC to the scrapheap he’s built with our emissions trading scheme and our mining tax.”

November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

France to start closing nuclear reactors in 2015

flag-franceEDF must start French nuclear closure in 2015 despite delay on replacement http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/19/france-nuclear-idUSL6N0T93HX20141119 PARIS Wed Nov 19, 2014 Nov 19 (Reuters) - EDF will still need to start shutting down some nuclear capacity in 2015 despite a new delay in finishing a replacement in northern France, the official in charge of the closure of France’s oldest plant said on Wednesday. Continue reading

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senator Christine Milne calls for a gradual, planned, phaseout of Victoria’s coal power

Milne,-Christine-13Greens call for an end to Vic coal power, Herald Sun  AAP NOVEMBER 20, 2014  GREENS leader Christine Milne has called for a phase out of coal-fired power in Victoria but says it doesn’t have to affect jobs.

THE Greens are leading a push to close Victoria’s coal-fired generators and rehabilitate the sites in a gradual phase-out that they say will leave communities better off.

        “There are 485 jobs that could be created straight away from the rehabilitation and decommissioning of mines,” Australian Greens leader Christine Milne told reporters on Thursday.”A lot of the jobs of people working in electricity generation are transferable to constructing and maintaining renewable energy systems as well.”The Greens have pinpointed the closure of the Hazelwood and Anglesea power stations, which they say are among the dirtiest in Victoria.Senator Milne said there was already an oversupply on the Victorian grid and the phase-out would have no effect on supply.”The Australian Energy Market Operators are saying that there is too much energy in the system,” Senator Milne said.”My question for Denis Napthine is: is AEMO wrong when they say there is 2200 megawatts excess capacity in the system?”…….
          Senator Milne said the closure of coal-fired power was inevitable and it should be a gradual phase-out rather than a rapid closure when the sites are no longer viable.”With huge excess power supply and last century technology they will become junk assets,” Senator Milne said.”After the fires in Morwell, Denis Napthine really needs to look at the impact of coal-fired power not just on the atmosphere but on the health of people.”

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/greens-call-for-an-end-to-vic-coal-power/story-fni0xqi4-1227129734453

     

    November 22, 2014 Posted by | energy, Victoria | Leave a comment

    British Conservatives criticise Tony Abbott’s “flat earth” attitudes on climate change

    Abbott-in-hot-panUK Tories slam Tony Abbott on climate policy, The Age, November 20, 2014  The attitude of Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the global challenges of climate change is “eccentric”, “baffling” and “flat earther”, according to a group of senior British Conservatives.

    The group, including Prime Minister David Cameron’s Minister for Energy and a former Thatcher Minister and chairman of the Conservative Party, says Mr Abbot’s position on climate change represents a betrayal of the fundamental ideals of Conservatism and those of his political heroine, Margaret Thatcher.

    In a series of wide-ranging, separate interviews on UK climate change policy with The Age, they warn that Australia is taking enormous risks investing in coal and will come under increasing market and political pressure to play its part in the global battle against climate change.

    Their comments come almost 25 years to the day since former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher addressed the United Nations to place climate change on the global environmental agenda. “It is mankind and his activities which are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways,”  she said………….. Mr Abbott declined to comment.  http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/uk-tories-slam-tony-abbott-on-climate-policy-20141120-11qos6.html

    November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

    UK top nuclear power advocate now says nuclear power may not be needed

    King,-Sir-Davidhighly-recommendedNuclear power may not be needed, says top atomic advocate, Telegraph, UK, 22 Nov 14   Sir David King, former chief scientist and champion of the nuclear newbuild, says the top priority must be to develop storage for renewable energy, reports Geoffrey Lean   ……. I was riveted as  Prof Sir David King, the former government Chief scientist,ranged over subjects from population growth to water resources, the growth of cities to commodity prices, spewing out new information and insights.

    But while he said a lot about the promise of renewable energy, he said almost nothing about nuclear power – despite for long having been one of its foremost and most influential advocates in Britain, describing it, for example, as a “massive economic opportunity” for the country.

    So I got up and asked him about it, expecting the same pro-nuclear response as I had heard from him many times before. Instead he amazed me by suggesting that Britain “might well” be able to do without atomic power altogether, and that the real priority should be on developing ways of storing electricity so as to be able to depend on famously intermittent sun and wind.

    “We have to keep reassessing the situation”, he said. “I believe that what we need, more than anything, is a surge of activity to develop energy storage capability …. Once we can do that technologically, why would we not just keep with renewables.”

    For a country like India, with plenty of sunlight and deserts where it can be collected, he went on, “there’s no reason” for it not to go “directly wholesale into solar energy”. After all it was already “three to four times” cheaper to provide villages unconnected to the grid in India and China with solar electric panels and batteries than to connect them up……….

    later he came back to the question …: “if we can get the costs down we might well manage our future basically on renewable energy and energy storage”.…….http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/nuclearpower/11244499/Nuclear-power-may-not-be-needed-says-top-atomic-advocate.html

    November 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    UK’s planned Hinkley Point C nuclear plant’s future is in doubt; financial crisis

    flag-UKHinkley Point C nuclear plant’s future in doubt as crisis hits shareholder Guardian UK, Terry Macalister, 20 Nov 14, Questions over new Somerset power station after Areva’s nuclear projects in Finland and France run into difficulties  The future of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset is under a cloud amid a financial crisis at Areva, a shareholder in the project and the designer of the proposed reactors.

    Shares in the French engineering business plunged by almost a quarter after Areva warned it must suspend future profit predictions because of problems centred on a similar power station project in Finland.

    Both that scheme at Olkiluoto and another at Flamanville in France are massively over-budget and over-schedule, forcing Areva to consider whether it needs an injection of new cash to survive.

    Peter Atherton, a leading energy company analyst at Liberum Capital in the City, said Areva appeared to be in deep trouble and this must be a matter of grave concern to the British government.

    “If I was sitting in Whitehall this would scare the daylights out of me. Areva is designing and building the first two EPRs [European Pressurised Reactors] inEurope and both projects have gone disastrously wrong.

    “The [UK] government has commissioned the most expensive power station in history and the only company that can provide the equipment is in trouble. That is a big problem for Hinkley.”

    As well as providing the design, Areva currently holds 10% of the equity in the Hinkley Point C project, which has been predicted by the European commission to cost almost £25bn – if it is built on time by 2023. EDF holds 45%-50%, with Chinese state nuclear companies holding the remainder…………http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/19/hinkley-point-c-nuclear-plant-future-doubt-areva

    November 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    UN report shows that Abbott’s Direct Action policy will not meet its 2020 emissions target

    Abbott-firemanAustralia will miss emissions target due to Direct Action, UN says, The Age November 21, 2014 –   Australia is “no longer on track” to meet its 2020 emissions target and the Abbott government’s decision to axe the carbon tax is to blame, the United Nations has found.

    The 2014 Emissions Gap Report, prepared by the UN Environment Programme, names Australia among four international pariah states that will require further action to meet their governments’ emissions pledges.

    Instead of hitting a target of 555 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020, Australia was on track to produce between 685 and 710 million tonnes, the report said. ……

    “Australia had been on track to meet its pledge in part through its carbon pricing mechanism, but this mechanism was abolished on 1 July 2014.”

    In a section of the report comparing countries’ pledges, trajectories and recent policy developments, the authors state in relation to Australia: “New government replaced carbon-pricing mechanism with Emission Reduction Fund. This results in an increase in projected emissions for 2020.”

    Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler said the report showed up the Prime Minister’s claim at the G20 summit in Brisbane that Australia that would “deliver” on its emissions targets.

    “World leaders, including some of Australia’s largest trading partners, have pledged to increase their emissions reduction targets,” he said.

    “Tony Abbott would rather pay polluters to pollute and keep his head in the sand.”………http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-will-miss-emissions-target-due-to-direct-action-un-says-20141121-11rn2h.html

    November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

    President Obama criticised by Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop chides Barack Obama over Great Barrier Reef climate change remarks ABC News 20 Nov 14 Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has criticised US president Barack Obama for a speech in Brisbane last weekend in which he claimed climate change threatened the Great Barrier Reef.

    Speaking to 7.30 from New York, where she is attending a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ms Bishop said “there was an issue regarding [Mr Obama’s] statement” and she could “understand the Queensland Government’s concern”……..

    Bishop latest Coalition politician to take aim at Obama

    Ms Bishop is not the only Coalition politician to voice criticism of Mr Obama, with frontbenchers Joe Hockey and Jamie Briggs making comments in the wake of the Brisbane speech.

    Mr Briggs labelled the address as a “massive, massive distraction” from the rest of the G20 summit, while the Treasurer said it would be difficult for Mr Obama to deliver on his stricter emissions standard pledge.……..

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned the Great Barrier Reef could be at risk if more is not done to reduce carbon emissions………The UN’s World Heritage Committee has deferred a decision on whether to list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” until next year. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-20/julie-bishop-chides-barack-obama-over-climate-change-remarks/5906570

    November 22, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

    Goldman Sachs getting out of the uranium trading business

    graph-downwardGoldman to wind down uranium desk; may sell Colombian coal mines -report Thu Nov 20, 2014 Nov 19 (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs will wind down its small uranium trading business after failing to find a buyer and may sell its Colombian coal mine subsidiary, two of its most controversial commodity divisions, according to a Senate report released on Wednesday…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/20/commodities-banks-goldman-uranium-idUSL2N0T931M20141120

    November 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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