Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Pro fossil fuel trolls are bad enough: pro nuclear ones are worse

a-cat-CANChristina Macpherson My comment on  What I learned from debating science with trolls, Business Spectator MICHAEL BROWN 20 AUG

Apologies if my comment might appear to be “off the subject”, though I think that it is not. First I welcome this article, clearly showing the illogicality, if not downright dishonesty of the climate sceptic trolls.
I am constantly the victim of Twitter trollsm because I campaign against the nuclear industry. It is ironic that these trolls use climate change as their argument for nuclear power, – and accuse me constantly of being in the pay of the coal and gas companies. That’s despite the fact that I repeatedly write and publish on websites on the critical need for action to address climate change
The pro nuclear trolls use two tactics. The main one is to abuse and discredit their targeted person. Thus I am not only “in the pay” of the fossil fuel industries, I am also a “murderer” – as well as being “stupid” “evil” ignorant” and have many other unpleasant attributes.

Their second tactic is to focus on narrowly technical matters – such as the intricacies of new (though not yet existing) Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs). The pretense is that this is the whole argument – the superiority of new nuclear technology. Subjects such as economics, ecology, public health, civil liberties, – these matters are “not relevant” to the discussion on nuclear power. In fact, only people with technical expertise can have a valid opinion. (Of course if  atechnicallly qualified person should oppose nuclear power , then he or she must be “in the pay” of the fossil fuel industries).  http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/8/20/policy-politics/what-i-learned-debating-science-trolls

August 22, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Nuclear and Climate News in Australia this week

AUSTRALIA

Radioactive wastes.  The Australian government is still licking its wounds from the debacle of their attempt to impose a waste dump on Aboriginal land at Muckaty  – (the shame, with all their resources,  of being beaten by a few elderly and poor black women).  However, that hasn’t stopped them from calling for volunteers in Aboriginal communities to accept a (presumably bigger) bribe to host the dump.

Meanwhile, saner voices in Australia are calling for an independent National Commission to assess radioactive waste management based on good science, good process and acceptance that social and human concerns are valid and need to be addressed alongside technical criteria.

Uranium. Queensland government mouths stuff about protecting the Great barrier Reef, but in fact, is quite prepared to export uranium through Townsville, if need be.

Climate Change.  Even a top  former coal executive is getting worried about us having a government driven by anti science and climate denialism

Renewable Energy. The battle rages as renewables become ever more effective and cheaper. Big coal power – AGL, Energy Australia and Origin Energy lobby their tiny minds off trying to get rid of the Renewable Energy Target.  In the  ACT there’s a movement against the  proposed 7MW solar farm to be built at Uriarra – to my mind, it’s suspiciously like the supposed “community anti-wind” movement . Just wondering how much backing there from the fossil fuel industries.   Not surprising- as this new solar farm will be, in the fashionable jargon – a national game-changer in electricity technology

Solar power. I just can’t resist publicising the nifty solar thing that has been going on in Port Augusta, S. Australia for 3 years. Now Council has approved an expansion of Sundrop Farms, which uses cutting-edge solar thermal technology to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses. The Sundrop Farms System allows land normally not deemed suitable for agriculture or horticulture to produce large quantities of food.

POLITICS.  Nuclear and Climate issues are so serious that they are above politics. I try to keep this in mind. However, it would be hypocrisy to pretend that these issues are not political in Australia. Our children and grand-children’s future depends on the management of these issues.  We are in desperate need of getting good government – we don’t have that now.

March-in-Australa

 

 

August 17, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Nuclear, Climate News This Week in Australia

a-cat-CANAUSTRALIA

Israel, Gaza.    Tony Abbott, Christopher Pyne!   Pyne says:  “Australians supported the Israeli government’s “firm action” in Gaza.”  How dare he speak for me and you!!!

Hiroshima Day commemorative events will be held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne between April 3 and 15 – http://antinuclear.net/action-australia/

Some good news, for once: the charity Rainbow Stay Project has brought a group of children from Fukushima to Australia, for  a much needed holiday from their life at home, where they are so confined by the need to avoid radiation.

Uranium – media hype caught out this week. Fairfax and News Ltd recommended Australian  company Silex Systems as the best investment. But 3 days later, Silex’s much-touted laser uranium enrichment technology was dumped by General Electric. Silex had previously dumped its own solar business in favour of its nuclear business. Silex shares were $7.97 a share in 2009. Now they’re 49 cents a share.

But the hype goes on, with the media touting Western Australia’s EPA conditionally approving Cameco’s uranium plan for Kintyre, and Queensland‘s Newman Government enthusing over uranium mining. Indeed, Queensland is so keen that they will consider exporting uranium through Queensland ports –  (Bugger the Great Barrier Reef!)

The Western Australian plan is up against it – with low uranium prices meaning that it is not viable, and with considerable opposition, especially from Aboriginal people. Submissions challenging this uranium project will be accepted by the EPA up until August 11 http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/EIA/EPAReports/Pages/1522-KintyreUraniumProject.aspx

In Northern Australia, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) continues its loss-making record.

In South Australia – despite the hype, BHP’s proposed new underground Olympic Dan uranium mine is just not happening

France refuses to accept toxic chemical wastes from Orica in Sydney – on the grounds that the transport is too dangerous. Makes me wonder why certain Australians are keen to import toxic radioactive wastes from France?

The Abbott Australian Government. You might suspect that I am frothing at the mouth, and you would be right. The approval of Australia’s largest coal mine which will kill the Great Barrier Reef.  The refusal of Abbott to attend the Pacific Islands Forum (it will discuss Climate Change). Abbott’s determination to keep Climate Change OFF the agenda at the G20 Forum. The treatment of asylum seekers ………

Good news:  Lots of it about renewable energy.     Capital cities are going ahead with renewable energy!    Coober Pedy a great test case for off-grid renewable energy     Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) funding Lord Howe Island’s hybrid renewable energy project     Queenslanders want renewables to become the ‘norm’

INTERNATIONAL

Gaza.  On social media there is gathering world anger at Israel’s actions

Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversaries bring up the parallels between the cover-ups that went on, about the health results of the atomic bombing, and today’s cover-up of the health effects of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 is outshowing the continued decline of nuclear power

Japan. While it is supposed to be restarting nuclear power, in reality, Japan’s failure to control the Fukushima radioactive leaks is one of several factors that are delaying the restart.

Fukushima – calls for more thorough examination of the medical effects of the nuclear meltdown.  Fukushima’s wild monkeys have blood abnormalities considered to have only one cause – nuclear radiation.

Ukraine Parliament considering a Bill to renew nuclear power (doesn’t that fill you with confidence?)   Sanctions imposed by Europe – on Russia  – likely to have serious negative effects on European countries’ nuclear industry

Renewable energy is having  a record year in Germany   also in UK  and in Denmark and China

August 3, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Transport of toxic chemical and radioactive wastes – France says NO to Orica

a-cat-CANFor a long time, I’ve been posting away about radioactive waste, as if it were the only pollution problem.  But of course it’s not. Indeed the same stupid white males who brought us radioactive wastes also bring us chemical wastes – in a sort of mindless onslaught on the very ecosystem we need for our survival.

I thought it ironic that France is now refusing to accept toxic chemical wastes from Australia.

Meanwhile a few very greedy business individuals, and a few not very bright worthies like Bob Hawke, Martin Ferguson, Alexander Downer – are advocating that Australia import radioactive wastes from France and everybody else.

The French have woken up now to the danger and diseconomics of nuclear power, and they’ve also woken up to the dangers of transporting chemical wastes. These wastes are best stored near the point of origin. The same goes for radioactive wastes.

Fortunately, most Australians reject the idea of importing radioactive wastes. The Abbott government and the Labor opposition are forced by public opinion to pretend that they oppose this too. However, under the power of their corporate funders, both parties would be ever so amenable to a business idea like that –  anything to get corporate and media support to be in office.

text-wastes-warningFrench reject Orica’s toxic waste, SMH  July 27, 2014 Natalie O’Brien More than 100 tonnes of highly toxic waste will have to remain at Botany after the French government vetoed plans by chemical giant Orica to ship it from Sydney to France for incineration.

Environmentalists across the world have applauded the decision after angry protests during the Tour de France bicycle race and a petition with 23,746 signatures was collected calling for the shipment to be stopped.

French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal said she would not back the plan to send the Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) waste to an area in south-east France because of fears something could go wrong to the ship which could cause marine pollution.

“The transport of dangerous waste … is an environmental aberration,” she was reported as saying.

She also said such waste “should be treated near their source of production”. ……..

It is Orica’s third attempt to ship the HCB, a carcinogenic pollutant banned in Europe since 1981, from Botany to an overseas destination for incineration. Protests stopped its planned export in 2007 to Germany and in 2010 to Denmark. Experts have said that the longer it remains at Botany the more waste is generated because it has to be repackaged every four years to keep it secure.
Objections had also been made to the Australian government from numerous lobby groups including Doctors for the Environment Australia, Friends of the Earth, the Nature Conservation Council, The National Toxics Network, Greenpeace Australia, International POPs Elimination Network, and the Basel Action Network (the Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives).

Dr Mariann LLoyd-Smith from the National Toxics Network, said they shared Ms Royal’s concerns about transporting such a large amount of toxic waste by sea to France and they were also concerned about the repeated engineering failures and toxic emissions of the intended French incinerator.

“Now as a matter of urgency, we need to bring all the parties together and decide on a suitable non-combustion destruction technology not only for Orica’s HCB wastes but also to address current and future toxic waste,” she said.

“We then need to start the process to allow the Australian community to select an appropriate site where we can deal with our own hazardous waste in an environmentally sound way in line with Australia’s international obligations.” : http://www.smh.com.au/environment/french-reject-oricas-toxic-waste-20140725-zwd3k.html#ixzz38oF7vOkW

 

July 28, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate and nuclear news in Australia this week

a-cat-CANClimate change. International criticism as the Abbott government repeals the carbon tax, leaving Australia with no climate change policy.Scientists demonstrate that human-caused global  warming is causing more severe droughts and floods in Australia. South Western Australia’s long term dry is becoming a big cause for concern

Renewable Energy ‘Maverick’ politicians Clive Palmer and Ricky Muir save The Australian Renewable Energy Agency  the Climate Change Authority, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Renewable Energy Target  from Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s renewables -destroying axe.  It is clear that the condition for Abbott’s rise to power, courtesy of the fossil fuel industries, was that his central task is to destroy all real action on climate change in Australia.

The remote South Australian town of Coober Pedy is to get  the  second major off-grid project recently supported by ARENA, which is also investing in a 6.7MW solar plus storage installation at Rio Tinto’s Weipa refinery in far north Queensland.  Australian banks face risks if Renewable Energy Target is gutted or abolished.

Wastes. The problem remains of Lucas Heights nuclear wastes due to return from France to Australia in 2015

Uranium industry - current world glut of uranium , and predicted slow return to nuclear in Japan mean that Australia’s uranium industry future still looks glum    Even if regulators do approve Cameco’s  Western Australian Kintyre project, it is not now economically viable.

Warren Mundine, Tony Abbott’s appointed top Aboriginal adviser is in the hot spot, with apparent conflict of interest in mining deals in Western Australia.

INTERNATIONAL

Ukraine I cannot yet find information on what the airline tragedy might mean  for nuclear power in Ukraine – and sanctions perhaps on Russia.

Iraq. ISIS insurgents seize nuclear materials

USA  – Radiation Safety Standards The Environment Protection Austhority (EPA)  is calling for comments on its planned update of  “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations.”   The nuclear lobby is of course very keen to weaken those standards. Sophiticated and disingenuous arguments are being pushed towards that aim.  This is  acomplcated and difficult matter. I would hope that the EPA is concerned first for the public, and second for the nuclear industry, but I doubt this.

Japan. Even with safety clearance Japan’s nuclear reactors might not restart. Big protest in Tokyo against nuclear restart.

Fukushima.   Now  available first hand witness: The Yoshida Testimony. The Fukushima Nuclear accident as told by plant manager Masao Yoshida   The ice wall plan to stop leakage of radioactive water is not working

TEPCO workers leaving Fukushima for better paid, clean, safe jobs in solar energy projects. $1 billion in loans for Japan’s solar energy.

Iran Diplomacy struggles on, as the nuclear talks between Iran and the West are extended until November

Renewable Energy. International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that there are now 6.5 direct and indirect jobs in renewable energy.     10 top USA corporations call for renewable energy

 

 

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australian nuclear news this week

a-cat-CANRadioactive waste- causes for concern

  1. The Abbott government’s move to get rid of its federal responsibilities about environment  – letting the States have control of many issues and decisions
  2. A new Bill in the Western Australian Parliament, that could give power to an Aboriginal leader to evaluate and negotiate decisions on land use.
  3. The proposal by one such Aboriginal leader, for a nuclear waste dump in his area.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits and does a defence/trade deal with Abbott government, – further locking Australia into USA’s military encirclement of China. Abe was welcomed in Parliament. He offered condolences, but no apology for Japan’s World war 2 cruelties to Australian soldiers, – just as there have been no apologies to Korea for the scandal of the Korean “comfort women”  Abe recently and very publicly visited Yasukuni Shrine, which honors convicted war criminals.  He would not have got the same kind of grand welcome in USA Congress, nor in South Korea, as he got from our historically illiterate P.M. Abbott.

Politics. New Senator Rickey Muir and Palmer United Party are blocking Abbott govt’s attempts to abolish Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). But  Industry Minister Ian MacFarlane, is pre-empting the parliament by refusing to renew the contracts of Arena board members.

Abbott gaffe - about Australia being “unsettled” before British colonisation – got an angry response from Aboriginals, including Senator Nova Peris, but notably not from Abbott’s best pro nuclear pal Warren Mundine

Climate change.  Conservative British peer Lord Deben absolutely trashes Abbott’s policies on climate change. Anglican Church urges Abbott to change his climate policies.

Lynas rare earths company, (of the dodgy processing plant in Malaysia) is not going too well, and has moved its head office from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur.

Renewable Energy. Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CIFC) continues to fund solar energy initiatives, and following the Al Gore visit, and Clive Palmer’s stance – it looks as if the CIFC will be saved from Abbott.  Interesting times ahead in Australian politics.  Perhaps Tony Abbott’s campaign against renewable energy is about to fall apart?

Australian Capital Territory (ACT) on its way to being Australia’s new energy beacon. and is taking on the anti-wind farm brigade.  Sydney gets the world’s first solar integrated house.

 

July 9, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Shameful honouring of Japanese Prime Minister Abe

a-cat-CANDoes Tony Abbott know that there is no way that Japan’s Prime Minister Abe would be paraded proudly in front of both sides of politics at the USA Congress?   Nor in South Korea?

Why not?    Because Japan and Abe have never recognised, apologised or honoured the Korean “comfort women” who were so horribly exploited by Japan in World War 2.

And because Prime Minister Abe has only recently and very publicly honoured the graves of 14 major Japanese war criminals.

As Australians, we have even more reason to not honour Shinzo Abe.  He appeared in our Paerliament, and offered “condolences’ for the sufferings of Australian soldiers at the hands of Japanese prison guards. “Condolences”!   Not good enough!  Our soldiers were starved, tortured and killed. At least a public apology is called for.

Our Prime Minister Abbott, known to be scientifically illiterate, is apparently also historically illiterate.  Or is  it that Abbott is so keen to appease his military-industrial complex masters in USA, that anything goes, in his efforts to wed Australia to USA’s military encirclement of China, by palling up in defense agreements with Japan?

July 9, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

3 things that I worry about relating to nuclear waste dumping in Australia

a-cat-CAN1. The Abbott government’s move to get rid of its responsibilities about environment  – letting the States have control of many issues and decisions

2, A new Bill in the Western Australian Parliament, that could give power to an Aboriginal leader to evaluate and negotiate decisions on land use HG Alert: 12 June 2014 http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/323176/indigenous+peoples/Aboriginal+heritage+takes+a+contemporary+twist+in+Western+Australia

3. The proposal, in the article below, by one such Aboriginal leader, for a nuclear waste dump in his area.  Nuclear dump plan for desert  MICHAEL DULANEY The West Australian  July 6, 2014,https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/wa/a/24395664/nuclear-dump-plan-for-desert/

July 7, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

This week’s nuclear and climate news in Australia

a-cat-CANNuclear waste dump.  It has all gone very quiet, but machinations continue, regarding the proposed site.  It is unlikely that the sound option of storing Lucas Heights nuclear waste at Lucas Heights will be chosen. Interestingly, however, this is the option suggested by the two most ardent pro nuclear publicists for Australia  Ben Heard & Barry W. Brook. (That’s part of their campaign to reassure Australian s that the nuclear industry is so benign)

A nuclear waste dump on Aboriginal land is still the Government’s  favoured idea – this would introduce the full nuclear chain to this country, and the lucrative (to some) business of importing the world’s radioactive trash.. The propaganda will be to destroy the credibility of environmental groups, while using a mix of bribery and blackmail on the Aborigines. Meanwhile the push for nuclear power is renewed – with media items like THE AUSTRALIAN’s – “Let’s go nuclear, for the reef’s sake”

Uranium.  Queensland has just lifted a 32-year ban on uranium mining. Apart from the constantly falling market price for uranium (way below production costs), Queensland faces costly and divisive problems if it goes ahead. For example, the quickest export place would be through Townsville Port. The city of Townsville, home to 190,000 people is only 50km from the mine. The port is close to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, dugong protected areas, seagrass beds, fringing coral reefs and mangrove forests.

Arrest of Australian peaceful protestor in Malaysia. Natalie Lowrey was arrested along with Malaysian protestors against the Australian company Lynas’ Rare Earths project. They were quickly released. Of course – zero mainstream media coverage of this.

Climate change above party politics. Thanks to Al Gore and Clive Palmer, Australia’s clean energy projects have been saved from the Abbott axe.  But the real significance of this important co-operation is to demonstrate that climate change is above party politics.

Also, the Labor Opposition should drop their negativity, and vote for Abbott’s Direct Action policy. That way, there is  a start to action. Without it, Australia has no climate policy. It’s just too important to mindlessly oppose Abbott on everything. And, I for one, think that The Greens should back Abbott’s inflation-based adjustments to the federal petrol tax rate, that will discourage use of greenhouse gas emitting fuel.

Renewable energy. Victorian town Yackandandah has a plan for 100% renewable energy

July 3, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Scrapping of the plan for dumping nuclear waste on Aboriginal land at Muckaty

a-cat-CANWell, for a few weeks, the Australian media has been happily occupied titillating us all with matters legal – the court cases of Oscar Pistorius and of Rolf Harris.

Meanwhile barely noted by the media, a 7 year legal battle was over this week –  one that has far more significance for all Australians. And especially for indigenous Australians.

The  Aboriginal Traditional Landowners of the Muckaty station area, (Northern Territory)  fought against nuclear waste dumping on their land, and following the last weeks of this case, that plan has been scrapped. It has been a very unequal fight, yet those proud indigenous people have won out, against the legal forces of the Australian Government, and the Northern Land Council, which first signed up to  the dump plan.

Background. The global nuclear lobby is happy to have a research reactor at Lucas Heights, in Sydney. This reactor was envisaged, way back, after World War 2 as part of a push to get a nuclear bomb.  It remains there as a way in for the nuclear industry in Australia. The medical isotope production was tacked on later – to make the reactor look more respectable, but medical isotopes can be made in alternative ways.  Australia sent the high level nuclear reactor wastes overseas is legally bound to take them back.

2004   The Australian government first attempted to site a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, but South Australia resisted this and won. A Territory has less power and that is why the Government  targeted the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory Government passed the Nuclear Waste Transport , Storage and Disposal Prohibition Act 2004

2005 . A government expert team investigated and selected 3 sites suitable for burial of the returned high level nuclear wastes. All of these sites were on Commonwealth land.  The Muckaty area, which is seismically risky, as well as being on Aboriginal land, was not selected.  Nevertheless, the Howard Liberal government passed a draconian Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005 , over-riding environmental and Aboriginal heritage laws, and State and Territory laws and selecting Muckaty for the site

2010. The Labor government repealed that Act in 2010, and promptly replaced it with an equally draconion Radioactive Waste Management Act 2010.

The medical waste deception. The argument that a Northern Territory  waste dump is needed for medical wastes is disingenuous.  “Waste from nuclear medicine procedures, the majority of which is for diagnostic services rather than treatment, is low level and short term waste can be stored on site and safely disposed of locally.  The small amount of higher level waste from nuclear medicine can also be stored locally, as it is currently” -Public Health Association of Australia,

The future. The relatively small amount of high level waste from the Lucas Heights reactor could be stored at Lucas Heights, and the reactor could be shut down, to stop further toxic production. The Australian government, lik ethe rest of the world, does not know where to put the ever accumulating collection of radioactive trash.

My bet is that our not very bright, and totally unethical government will try it on Aboriginal people again – with blackmail or bribes – ‘whatever it takes’.

 

 

 

June 19, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australia’s embarrassing fossil fool Prime Minister

Dear oh dear!  It’s such an embarrassment!

Abbott-fiddling-global-warm Australia, (population 23 million, about the size of one city in Asia) has a Prime Minister who confidently lectures the whole world against taking any effective action on climate change. Tony Abbott’s on a whirlwind trip to Canada and USA to preach his gospel of promotion for fossil fuel industries

US President Barack Obama speaks out forcefully on the need to act, on carbon pricing as the most effective action, and has introduced significant action to cut greenhouse gases. China has started 6 regional emissions trading schemes.The World Bank’s survey found that 39 countries and more than 23 States and provinces have adopted emissions trading schemes or a carbon tax. No worries. Abbott pronounces that there  is “no sign” that such schemes are being adopted.

The Australian tragedy of all this is that –  Abbott is probably not lying. He is ignorant.  He got into power via the money of the fossil fuel lobbies and the propaganda of the Murdoch media. Abbott gave a wonderfully informed and authoritative description of the theory of man-made climate change. He said it is “absolute crap” Yes, we have  a fool for  a PM, and it’s a national embarrassment.

diagram-carbon-schemes

Wait to see the blackly funny side of this.  Tony Abbott is  a firm supporter of the nuclear industry. When he has destroyed all action on climate change in Australia, and when he has stopped renewable energy development there – watch Abbott suddenly believe in climate change ‘action’.  That’s when Tony Abbott will come all out in favour of nuclear power as the ‘solution to climate change’ –Christina Macpherson, 11 June 14

June 11, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Below the radar – nuclear and climate news

a-cat-CANRadioactive Waste Court case.  The traditional Aboriginal owners of the Muckaty area in Northern Territory continue their 7 year battle against radioactive  waste dumping on their land.  Their legal case continues, with hearings in Tennant Creek, Melbourne, and now back to the Northern Territory.  The Government’s latest argument is that the radioactive trash dump can go ahead, even without the  consent of the Aboriginal owners.

Uranium – Energy Resources of Australia expects an even huger loss this year, but, despite that, AND its environmental failures, NT and Federal govts have approved a restart of Ranger uranium mine. Paladin Energy’s share price collapses.

Left wing Australians are enjoying the gaffes of our pugilistic Prime Minister Tony Abbott. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3IaKVmkXuk He is off on a world jaunt, almost certain to embarrass himself and Australia.  However, it’s  a pity that:

  • The Labor opposition keeps buying into the personal pugilism, instead of coming up with policies that are for the public good, and clearly different from the Abbott government’s.
  • The media , like schoolkids watching  a playground fight, do not cover the policy issues, and what is really going on.

Abbott’s global tour:

  • France. Apart from Abbott connecting up the war heroes with the carbon tax and Australia being “open for business’, it’s pretty clear that the D.Day ceremonies fit well into the building push for a glorious ANZAC Day centenary in 2015.   As one whose relatives did fight in WW2, one dying as result, I fear that it will turn out to be some sort of militaristic party – feeding in to Australia’s close role in USA’s military encirclement of China.
  • Canada. Abbott will meet P.M. Stephen Harper. On nuclear issues, they will be unanimous, if discreet. Ontario ‘s elections loom, but a non issue  will be its planned nuclear power expansion. Both of Canada’s Liberal and Conservative parties are fans of the planned $25 billion expansion of nuclear power.  Not only is the uranium industry (though financially failing) important to Canada, but Canada is the hub of the push for a new nuclear gimmicky export, thorium reactors.  Propaganda for these has been successful in Australia, with backing from all sorts of influential people and organisations, especially in South Australia.  So it is likely that thorium nuclear reactors, and even Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) will be included in the government’s Energy White Paper – later this year.    Abbott and Harper are also in happy agreement that there should be no real action on Climate Change, and they both support the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
  • USA  Yes, the media is paying some attention to this one, since President Obama came out strongly for action on Climate Change. How will Tony Abbott wriggle out of this one?  It has importance for the G20 meeting in Brisbane in November. Abbott maintains that Climate Change will not be a G20 agenda item.  That is probably why Abbott may cancel planned meetings with the heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund – to avoid discussing that subject.

Renewable Energy.  Mainly more bad news for Australia, as the International Renewable Energy Agency reports that Australia could reach 50% renewable energy by 2030,  BUT, we’re actually going backwards instead.

 

 

 

 

 

June 9, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Comedy time in Australia for climate news?

a-cat-CANTough times for Australia’s comic writers, as the news is out-doing them these days with a nudge and a wink, and Federal Liberal politicians in a post-budget turmoil.

I can even get  a bit of black humour out of Prime Minister Tony Abbott pressing on with his campaign against climate change action and renewable energy, while at the same time, Eastern Australia is getting its warmest, driest May on record, with the forecast of more to come.

Tony Abbott, settling in to his anti-climate action policies is like that proverbial frog, sitting comfortably in ever heating water, not realising that he is going to be cooked.   Not that this is Abbott’s immediate biggest worry – but I’m betting that later this year, it will be.  It’s just a pity that farmers, bush-fire victims, flood victims, have to pay the price, as Australia becomes an international disgrace, due to our fool of a Prime Minister.

But – on to some good news, for  a change. The unique and beautiful giant cuttlefish is back in its breeding grounds at the top of Spencer Gulf, South Australia. Its numbers had dwindled, and if BHP Billiton’s desalination plant had gone ahead, that would have been the finish for this iconic Australian animal- found in no other place. (The desal plant was part of BHP’s now-ditched, grandiose Olympic Dam uranium mine plan).

A certain irony – Rio Tinto famous for its uranium/nuclear industry is now finding that solar energy is its best option for its remote Weipa bauxite mine.

I spare you  a repetition of all the climate and renewable energy programs to be destroyed by the Abbott government. But I think that they’re in trouble when conservative groups –  rural citizens  and the Australian Industry Group (AIG) speak out in favour of the Renewable Energy Target.

 

May 23, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Climate, Nuclear News – what’s in the budget.

Climate Change  is the great moral challenge of our generation” –   Kevin Rudd  2007.

After 7 years – what has happened to Australia’s enthusiasm for action on Climate Change?  Sadly, Australians have elected a Climate a-cat-CANDenialist government – a government that makes John Howard’s look like a radical  greenie..  And, hardly noticed in the swathe of cuts to welfare,  to youth affairs, homelessness programs, health, education, the Budget’s attack on renewable energy is barely noticed.

Except for the children of the rich, the future is very insecure. That’s the near term future.  For ALL of Australia’s children , the future in the changing climate is insecure, indeed, fearful.  Ignoring world trends for action, ignoring President Obama’s call for climate action, ignoring the renewable energy revolution already underway, Tony Abbott has acted faithfully in the service of the polluting industries.

 The Budget:

  •  abolishes Australian Renewable Energy Agency. (the agency’s remaining unallocated funds of about A$1 billion could be returned to the general revenue pool).
  • moved to eliminate the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation
  • dumped The million solar roofs program ( a core pre-election promise) “In place of the million roofs program, which was at once stage budgeted for $1 billion, the government has announced a derisable $2.1 million for “community” solar projects on RSL and bowling clubs and the like in 7 marginal electorates. (Yes, they are that cynical)”.- Giles Parkinson. 
  • cut $21.7 million over four years through the amalgamation of the National Environmental Research Programme and the Australian Climate Change Science Programme to form a new National Environmental Science Programme.
  • slashed $111.4 million over four years from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the main scientific research body.
  • axed Clean Technology Innovation Program
  • frozen funding for the Cooperative Research Centres
  •  drops  election promise to re-establish Low Carbon Australia – a body that sought to provide specialist financing for energy efficiency projects.
  • will replace the Carbon Tax by Emissions Reduction Fund  The ERF allows farmers and land managers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the land. These credits can be sold to people and businesses wishing to offset their emissions.
  •  cut $459.3 million (or around three-quarters) of funds from the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships Program,
  • cut $16.8 million over two years from the National Low Emissions Coal Initiative
  • cut $10.0 million  from the budget from the Bureau of Meteorology

Uranium industry has  a poor short term future and  a poor long term future – from World Nuclear Association analyst, Steve Kidd.

 

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott hides behind his newly created star, Matthias Corman, in attacking renewable energy

a-cat-CANIs it not pathetic that a Liberal government should be so determinedly aiming to stifle business?Corman,-Matthias-monster

In Australia, people on the Left have always criticised the Liberal Party for being so “pro business”, at the expense of other section sof the society.

Now, we’ve got a Liberal Coalition government that is hell-bent to stamp out business –   or at least any business that has something to do with 20th Century renewable energy technology.    The fact that solar and wind energy, (and energy efficiency) are making great strides now, and getting cheaper, and Oh My God, showing that small distrib uted energy sources can be effective and cheap –  that fact seems to have spooked Tony Abbott, as well as spooking rather dim-witted energy utility executives. (I mean, they could have got on board with the coming energy revolution instead of fighting it)

Never mind. Abbott ploughs ahead.  And look!  He’s got a new creation!   Coming from nowhere there’s the steely-eyed unblinking Matthias Corman. Corman does not flinch as he adroitly promotes Abbott’s despicable and ridiculous policies on renewable enegy.  Here’s a monster in the making, for even Tony Abbott. As Abbott hides, perchance his creation might later be  a menace, like Frankenstein’s monster was.

May 12, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

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