Predictions Australia will be hardest hit by climate change http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-17/predictions-australia-will-be-hardest-hit-by-climate-change/4695718 A national conference on mining and coal seam gas in the Hunter Valley this weekend will hear the world is past the point of preventing climate change.
Community leaders and experts in energy policy, health and renewables are gathering for the three day forum in Kurri Kurri this weekend.
Ian Dunlop is a former senior Executive of Royal Dutch Shell and a former chair of the Australian Coal Association. He says the coal industry has known since the 1980′s climate concerns will limit its primacy.
He says the world has already left it too late to prevent the onset of major climate change, pointing to the ominous milestone reached in the last week that saw the atmospheric concentration for carbon dioxide surpassing levels not seen in millions of years. The conference will hear from community groups that have successfully opposed coal and CSG developments in NSW, Queensland and the United States.
Mr Dunlop, who’s now with the Association for the study of Peak Oil and Gas, says Australia will be one of the hardest hit by a rise in global temperatures.
“I mean this is what people don’t seam to get, you cannot continue to operate businesses of any kind in a world where the average temperature has gone up 4 degrees, it’s just not feasible for people to work in those conditions,” he said.
“We’re one of the driest continents on the earth and the effects on Australia will be more severe than elsewhere.”
Mr Dunlop says climate change will also have a negative impact on Australia’s agricultural industry.
“The much longer term problems of the sustainability of things like agriculture because if we keep on going where we’re going large parts of the country are either going to be moving back into deserts or alternatively they’ll end up subject to extreme flooding and conditions that aren’t particularly conducive to agriculture anyway,” he said.
It’s the only revenue-raising move in this year’s savings-based Budget. Mineral production was forecast to be worth $2.7 billion in 2013-14 but mining royalties are expected to raise $113.3 million, for a recovery rate of 4.2 per cent.
The first new Budget measure is a cap on the amount mining companies can claim as a transfer price for a mineral set at 5.5 per cent of its value……
The second measure would put a cap on the amount corporations can claim on tax for administrative costs for a foreign head office. Mr Tollner said they had been claiming expenses as NT costs……. http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2013/05/15/320899_nt-business.html
Government’s “consultation” on mining in Woomera more like a ram raid Australian Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam. 17 May 2013. The Federal Government made a mockery of public consultation by allowing three working days for initial submissions on opening up the Woomera Prohibited Area to miners, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said today.
“On Wednesday 8 May Defence Minister Stephen Smith and resources Minister Gary Gray released the draft exposure of legislation to increase access to Woomera Prohibited Area to miners, and three working days later on 13 May the submission period closed. It’s not good enough,” said Senator Ludlam.
“Lawyers representing the Maralinga people, who in addition to being the Traditional Owners own approximately 40,000sqkm of freehold land in the area, advise that they have not been consulted on this legislation despite approaching the Defence Minister on the issue in July 2011.
“It is a relatively short amendment at nine pages but it is high-impact legislation. This area has an estimated 78 per cent of Australia’s known uranium reserves. The implications are massive.
“After years of review and the production of an 82 page report, we do not want to see a long process brought to an abrupt and shallow end.”
Australia should shut down Lucas Heights and stop making radioactive trash
Nuclear waste on the move in clean-up http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nuclear-waste-on-the-move-in-cleanup-20130515-2jmu5.html#ixzz2TV9sbj00 May 16, 2013 Heath Aston Radioactive waste and parts of Australia’s oldest nuclear reactor will be trucked out of Sydney under plans to clean up the Lucas Heights nuclear facility and develop a national hazardous-waste dump in the outback.
They believe the dismantling and removal of the 1960s-era ”high-flux Australian reactor” and spent fuel rods is a bid to clear the way for further development at Lucas Heights and the production of more dangerous waste.
The plan to move the retired reactor, switched on by former prime minister Robert Menzies in 1958 and taken out of service in 2007, emerged in the budget papers.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, which manages Lucas Heights, has been given $28.7 million to prepare for the move. The four-year funding package will pay for ”pre-disposal conditioning of existing radioactive waste in preparation for long-term storage and disposal, and for the clean-up of buildings and infrastructure containing hazardous materials” at Lucas Heights.
Separately, the government has put $35.7 million into securing a site to become the nation’s repository for radioactive material. It will host waste from Lucas Heights and may provide the state government with a destination for contaminated soil from the former uranium smelter site at Hunters Hill.
An area at Muckaty, 800 kilometres south of Darwin, is the government’s preferred site after it struck an agreement with the Northern Land Council. But development of the semi-arid claypan site is bogged down in a legal challenge by some traditional owners. The budget papers do not identify Muckaty specifically, but a spokesman for Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray said Muckaty, 100 kilometres north of Tennant Creek, remained the only location under consideration.
Within four years a facility that could centralise waste from Lucas Heights, and 100 or so other industrial and medical waste facilities, would be ready for construction. An ANSTO spokesman confirmed the plan to move the reactor and waste. The load will include fuel rods due to arrive in Botany Bay for transportation back to Lucas Heights after they were reprocessed at a nuclear facility in France.
Local resident groups who supported a previous plan to encase the reactor in concrete will meet ANSTO management in Engadine in the next few days.
Now here’s an unusual item from the Australian business pages. Instead of the usual big talking up of the future for Australia’s uranium companies, – darned if one investment writer hasn’t told it like IT IS!
Uranium on the nose, The Motley Fool By Mike King - May 16, 2013 More than 26 months after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan, the nuclear industry is still feeling the effects with depressed uranium prices and cost pressures that are squeezing margins……
The price for uranium has fallen 40% since Fukushima to US$40 a pound, as Japan suspended its fleet of nuclear plants, while Germany…
….. the uranium price could stagnate at current levels for many years, much like it did after previous nuclear incidents. Japan may not restart its reactors, preferring instead to seek other energy alternatives, and reactors currently under construction could still be cancelled or postponed.
That is not good news for ASX listed uranium miners Paladin, Energy Resources of Australia (ASX: ERA), Toro Energy (ASX: TOE) or Deep Yellow Limited (ASX: DYL). http://www.fool.com.au/2013/05/16/uranium-on-the-nose/
Audio The secret trade deal that could let multinationals sue states ’ http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/trade-talks/4689004 RN Breakfast Presented by Fran Kelly 14 May 2013 Cathy Van Extel The latest round of negotiations for the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership starts today in Lima, Peru. The TPP is a multinational trade deal involving 12 countries, including the US and Australia, and if finalised it will account for 40 per cent of the global economy. Cathy Van Extel reports that the outcome of the Australian federal election is likely to have a big impact on the terms of the deal. The latest round of negotiations for the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership is kicking off in the Peruvian capital of Lima today.
The TPP is a multinational trade deal involving 12 countries including the US and Australia. If finalised it’ll account for 40 per cent of the global economy.
The trade talks are heavily shrouded in secrecy—and critics are concerned the TPP will benefit multinational corporations at the expense of existing labour and social protections.
The US has been pushing for an agreement by October this year and the Australian federal election is likely to have a big impact on the terms of the major trade deal. The wide ranging trade deal has been under negotiation since 2010 behind closed doors, and that’s a worry for critics like Jane Kelsey, professor of law from the University of Auckland and an activist academic.
She says it’s being rushed through with no public scrutiny.There’s going to be a huge amount of political pressure brought to bear on the negotiators in this round because they have set an informal deadline for signing a deal, or at least something, at the APEC leaders’ meeting in Bali in October,’ Professor Kelsey says. ‘However, the negotiations are still stuck on a number of key points and so there will be quite a bit of public posturing and quite a lot of pressure behind the scenes.’ Read more »
Not much climate change doubt, science says : http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/not-much-climate-change-doubt-science-says-20130515-2jmup.html#ixzz2TV6hLn4F Peter Hannam Carbon economy editor, 16 May 13,
Having doubts over climate change and the role of humans? You’re unlikely to find many scientists who share your uncertainty. That is the finding of a University of Queensland-led study that surveyed the abstracts of almost 12,000 scientific papers from 1991-2011 and claims to be the largest peer-reviewed study of its kind. Of those who a stated a position on the evidence for global warming, 97.1 per cent endorsed the view that humans are to blame. Just 1.9 per cent rejected the view.
The report’s lead author, John Cook, a fellow at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute and founder of the website skepticalscience.com, said the scientific consensus was overwhelming, growing and had been around since the early 1990s.
He said that while the number of papers rejecting the consensus was “vanishingly small”, his research suggested the public was under the impression the debate was split 50-50. Read more »
Still – the Australian Renewable Energy Agency survives, and solar and wind power are going to keep growing. Heaven help us if Tony Abbot gets in in September and tries to wreck renewable energy and climate change action. We may well look back on this Budget as something quite good.
The uranium lobby will be squealing, as new rules tighten, to stop the rorts on tax exempt exploration. But they keep all their other $billion perks.
Nuclear agencies continue to gobble up their $millions. The old dead, but still dirty High Flux has costly cleanups indefinitely, the live OPAL nuclear reactor continues to cost. Then there’s the radioactive waste dump planning.
And there are the Counsellors in India and China being funded – their job sounds very like marketing for Australia’s uranium industry.
The mining industry has had a royal run from the Australian government. Up until this latest Federal Budget uranium mining companies could deduct the full cost of exploration immediately, or even 150 per cent of the cost of exploration in some cases. Tax breaks on exploration and equipment cost taxpayers more than $1 billion per year.
Now – mining companies will cry poor, as the new budget contains measures to tighten the rules on exploration deductions for miners. Companies will now only be able to deduct genuine exploration spending, rather than writing off the acquisition of a company that acquired mining rights and spent money on exploration. But hey, the Government is sacking more than 100 staff from the federal environment department, staff who help assess mining proposals
But don’t let’s feel too sorry for the uranium, or indeed, any mining corporations. For example BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto pay tax on their fuel, but the government gives nearly all of it back through the Fuel Tax Credits program. Fears the diesel fuel rebates could be targeted again proved unfounded, with no direct changes to the 32 cent rebate.
As Charles Berge wrote (in Sydney Morning Herald May 11, 2010) “And then there are direct government services. Geoscience Australia’s annual budget is $130 million, much of which goes to providing free data and services to the mining industry. The CSIRO and various government research centres chip in another $130 million per year in benefits to the industry. And for the research the miners have to do themselves, they get $160 million back per year in the form of research and development tax concessions.
A billion or two for fuel, … a billion for free pollution and a couple of hundred million for subsidised science . . . pretty soon we’re talking real money.
And that’s before we’ve even begun to talk about government-provided roads, rail, ports, electricity networks and other infrastructure.
Mining is different from most other industries because it directly accesses publicly owned, non-renewable resources. It is appropriate that it pay for this privileged access, over and above its fair share of company tax. In light of the $4 billion to $5 billion in benefits the mining industry receives each year from the Australian taxpayer, the government’s proposed resource rent tax starts to look modest (and anyway, uranium mining was exempt from that tax)…..
So don’t be snowed by the big miners’ shrieks about sovereign risk driving them out of Australia. The biggest risk is that we continue to subsidise mining operations that aren’t paying a fair return for their use of public resources and taxpayer dollars.”
- Nuke Dump – $35.7m over 4 years National Radioactive Waste Management — securing a site and First Stage business case to “secure suitable volunteer site” and undertake initial scoping and design work, establish a Regional Consultative Committee and First State business case. (p253 bp2)
- Counsellor in New Delhi - $3.1m over 4 years to continue posting a Resources, Energy and Tourism Counsellor in New Delhi – is this to do with Uranium??
- ANSTO = $38.7m for decommissioning High Flux Nuclear Reactor and $8.1 m for increasing costs of running OPAL Nuclear Reactor (nuclear fuel and electricity) Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation — additional funding for decommissioning and nuclear waste management activities
ARPANSA = $ 7.8 m over four years Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency — improving Australia’s capacity to deliver effective radiation protection and nuclear safety to enhance capacity to issue new licences and undertake compliance, upgrade Yallambie and to address workplace health and safety issues. 5.1 m to be recovered through revising licencing fees and testing fees.
More detail on these nuclear-related expenses in the Budget: Read more »
Budget 2013-14 And Renewable Energy http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3739, 15 May 13, Australia’s Clean Energy Council has expressed disappointment in last night’s Budget, stating more than $600 million of funding for clean energy projects has been put in jeopardy.
While acknowledging a tough set of financial circumstances for the country and ambitious new projects such as the NDIS requiring funding, the CEC says chopping and changing clean energy program funding unsettles investors.
A deferral of $370 million in funding to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) over three years from 2014-15 is causing some concern as the CEC says the process for returning that funding to ARENA’s budget beyond 2020 is unclear.
$260 million of funding for energy efficiency programs and large-scale solar was also cut; the latter being $160 million of unallocated solar flagships funding which was to go to the ill-fated Solar Dawn project.
However, it wasn’t all bad news. The Clean Technology Programs did not receive rumoured cuts and $58 million of unspent funds in 2012-13 has been reallocated to 2017-18. $160 million of funding has been brought forward to 2014-15 to provide earlier access to funds for industry.
Greens leader Christine Milne was particularly scathing of the Budget. In an email with the subject line of “weaker, dumber, meaner”; Ms. Milne said the Government’s cuts to renewable energy funding constituted “back-flipping on their commitments to the Clean Energy package made with the Greens”. Ms. Milne also said “This budget is bad but Tony Abbott’s extreme agenda would go even further.”
For potential buyers of small scale rooftop solar arrays, their was neither bad or good news in the Budget – it’s business as usual.
On a somewhat related topic, carbon capture copped it in the cuts; with $662 million of uncommitted funds for the controversial Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships program being returned.
A full round-up of Budget 2013-14 winners and losers (renewable energy related and otherwise) can be viewed on ABC News.
Federal budget 2013: Renewable energy agency spared funding axe http://www.startupsmart.com.au/financing-a-business/federal-budget-2013-renewable-energy-agency-spared-funding-axe.html , 14 May 2013 | By Oliver Milman The federal government will extend the funding for its flagship clean tech initiative, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, confounding fears from green start-ups that the program was to be slashed to the bone.
Media reports in the lead-up to the budget suggested ARENA was set for funding cuts after the government flagged a reduction in the carbon price and the deferment of a tax cut linked to the scheme.
In the budget papers, the government has indeed deferred the tax cut until the carbon price is estimated to be above $25.40, which is projected for 2018-19.
However, ARENA has emerged relatively unscathed, with Treasurer Wayne Swan and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet announcing that its funding will be extended by two years to 2021-22, with funding “remaining above $3 billion for the life of the program”. Read more »
ARENA plans new mechanisms as funding cut, deferred REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 15 May 2013 Australia’s Renewable Energy Agency – the independent institution charged with giving a kick-start to emerging renewable energy technologies and supporting infrastructure – has had its overall funding cut by around 5 per cent and a further $370 million deferred to beyond 2020 as part of changes announced in the 2013 Federal Budget on Tuesday.
The cut, which effectively reduces ARENA’s total budget from $3.2 billion to just over $3 billion – comes from a decision to return $159 million of unspent money from the Education Investment Fund – a $200 million facility that was to run alongside the now defunct Solar Flagships program – to the budget.
CEO Ivor Frischknecht said he was disappointed by the budget cut – which effectively removes 10 per cent of unallocated monies, even though these particular funds were not under its direct control – but he said the “reprofiling” of the funding for other programs could actually suit ARENA’s investment objectives.
Under the changes announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan, funding for ARENA would be trimmed by $70 million in 2014/15 and by $150 million in the two subsequent years, with the money backloaded from 2020 into a program that would be extended out to 2021/22.
The move to effectively delay around 7 per cent of its unallocated funds has been criticised by clean energy supporters. The Clean Energy Council said it was disappointed the funds had been sent into the “budget ether”, just one year after ARENA had been established as an independent body to provide long-term stability to investors, and to avoid this very problem of annual budget cuts. ARENA enjoys bipartisan support, unlike the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
However, Frischknecht told RenewEconomy in an interview that the “reprofiling” of funding was a “sensible” move because it would help align the funding with the agency’s own investment plans……..
Frischknecht said ARENA was particularly pleased to get a $6.1 million increase in operational funding, which would allow the agency to expand, adding in project managers and specialist financing and transactional teams to look at new projects. “This is a big vote of confidence in our work,” he said. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/arena-plans-new-mechanisms-as-funding-cut-deferred-81277
Solar Citizens Officially Launches Today http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3736 by Energy Matters, 14 May 13 Solar Citizens aims to bring together existing and future solar owners in Australia and to help see solar installed on every suitable rooftop in the nation. The project is an offshoot of 100% Renewable; a non-partisan organisation established to help move Australia towards a renewable energy future.
While the solar revolution is well under way and millions of systems have been installed in Australia; there are some dark clouds on the horizon. ”But despite the many reasons to go solar, some big energy companies don’t want to see Australians take back control of their own energy needs. They want to make connecting to solar harder, not easier,” says part of a statement on the Solar Citizens web site.
According to Solar Citizens, Australians have invested $8 billion so far in small scale solar power systems.
Calculations performed by national solar provider Energy Matters estimate that collectively, the 1 million plus solar panel arrays in the nation will generate around $913 million worth of electricity (retail value) over the next 12 months – making these households a threat to Big Energy in Australia.
Solar Citizens says it will strive to protect the rights of solar households, lobbying to ensure they are treated with respect and paid a fair price for the power they contribute to the mains grid. With potentially nearly 2 million households as participants including solar hot water system owners; the group could become a powerful voice.
Solar Citizens’ first two campaigns focus on looming issues in Tasmania and Queensland. The Queensland campaign highlights concerns regarding a proposal from the Queensland Competition Authority to move solar power owners on to a different electricity billing system that could see increased charges for solar households.
The campaign for Tasmania is in relation to the privatising Aurora’s electricity retailer arm, to occur in January 2014. There are fears that as a result, solar feed-in tariffs could be slashed. Both campaigns involve petitions that will be presented to relevant authorities.
There is a lot of unmanaged country out here. Our people want to get to work managing it. Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas are a great success story providing real jobs and good management for our country.
In a federal election year I am calling on all leaders of state and federal political parties to support increased funding for these programs over the next decade. That’s a vision we can all support.
A proving ground for proud carers of country, Canberra Times, Murrandoo Yanner, 13 May 13 2013 A quiet evolution has been occurring in remote Aboriginal communities over the last decade, with ranger programs enabling people to earn a decent income, support their families and experience the pride that comes with that.
…….. quiet evolution has been occurring in remote Aboriginal communities over the last decade that isn’t well understood.
Up to now, indigenous-ranger programs have had bipartisan support, starting under the former Howard government and greatly strengthened by Labor. It’s an evolution because ranger programs are increasing the capacity of our mob and bringing them out of poverty, while also contributing to the evolution of attitudes in remote regions and healing the land….. Read more »