Australian news, and some related international items

Miners target green charities

The Minerals Council of Australia has called for some environmental organisations to be stripped of their charity status…. (subscribers only)

July 2, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission: Disclosure of Potentially Relevant Roles and Interests

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN – Expert Advisory Committee

(Note details of potentially relevant activities disclosed here for Dr. Timothy Stone. And read Jim Green’s responses to Prof. Barry Brook’s nuclear power advocacy on the Brave New Climate website here:

July 1, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How The States Can Get Around The Cut To The Renewable Energy Target

renewable-energy-pictureTime To Take The Power Back: How The States Can Get Around The Cut To The Renewable Energy Target , New Matilda, By John Kaye, 29 June 15  The Abbott Government may be trying to gut the renewable energy sector, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. John Kaye explains.

The deal has been done and the Senate has officially passed legislation to cut the Federal Renewable Energy Target by 20 per cent.

However, states like NSW don’t have to sit back and watch their wind and solar sectors frustrated by the Abbott government and their anti-renewable energy crusade.

Not satisfied with gutting the RET by 8,000 GWh, the federal Coalition used the bill to create a “Wind Farm Commissioner” to give a voice to the discredited health concerns fuelled by the anti-wind farm lobby.

They also lifted the exclusion of native forestry biomass which will effectively steal credits from genuine renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

It is hard to believe that an Australian government is publicly conspiring to curtail the growth of a global industry that is attracting investment, creating jobs and reducing the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.

While the commitment of the Abbott government to destroying the industry is astounding, it is essentially futile. The economics of energy production and the global uptake of renewables mean that a shift away from fossil fuels is inevitable.

July 1, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Environmentalists may sue Abbott government over its climate inaction

Environmentalists consider legal challenge to climate ‘inaction’ Environmentalists in Australia are investigating legal options to challenge the federal government over what they say is inaction on climate change. By  Abby Dinham 30 JUN 2015 – ENVIRONMENTALISTS IN AUSTRALIA ARE INVESTIGATING LEGAL OPTIONS TO CHALLENGE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OVER WHAT THEY SAY IS INACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE.

It comes after a landmark ruling in a Dutch court, which ordered the country’s government to slash greenhouse gas emission at a faster rate.

The victory for Dutch environmental group Urgenda is having global repercussions, with environmental lawyers in Melbourne preparing to launch similar action in Australia.

Abby Dinham spoke to lawyer for Environmental Justice Australia, Ariane Wilkinson, on the pending civil case.

July 1, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear proponent x-Treasury head Martin Parkinson attacks renewable energy

x-Treasury head Martin Parkinson takes swing at renewable energy target, SMH, June 30,  Former Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson has heavily criticised the Abbott government’s renewable energy target and Direct Action policies, saying they will be a far costlier way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than an emissions trading scheme………

The Senate passed legislation last week to cut Australia’s renewable energy target from 41,000 gigawatt hours of annual renewable energy production by 2020, to 33,000 gigawatt hours.

The Coalition and Labor reached agreement on the issue last month, ending more than 12 months of political deadlock.

Both major parties say the deal will provide certainty for the renewable energy sector, although critics say it will cut investment in renewable energy by about $5 billion.

Economist Warwick McKibbin, from the Australian National University, said the biggest problem with Direct Action is that you cannot use it to build momentum and “scale up” emissions reductions because it is funded via the budget……..

July 1, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto fears that the uranium market will not pick up

burial.uranium-industryRio warns on uranium
Rio Tinto fears the uranium market will not pick up in the near term, as it defended walking away from the Ranger mine… (subscribers only)

June 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Melbourne city’s hub stops as protestors rally against closure of remote Aboriginal communities

Rally against closure of Aboriginal communities disrupts inner city, The Age 27 June 15 Tom Cowie and Timna Jacks“………..More than 1000 protesters blocked the busy intersection at Flinders Street and Swanston Street, after earlier stopping on Swan Street bridge. The protest created difficult traffic conditions in the inner city…….

Indigenous activist, Rieo Ellis, said the loss of indigenous communities in WA would be disastrous for the people:

“When you haven’t got a homeland or place to go, you lose your identity,and personality and you become sick. Where are these communities going to go?”…….

June 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Rallies across Australia protesting shutdowns of remote Aboriginal communities

Protestors stage more rallies over plans to close remote Aboriginal communities, Guardian, , 26 June 15  Organisers protesting the WA government’s plans to close Aboriginal communities are retaliating by shutting down major cities For the fifth time since the Western Australian premier, Colin Barnett, announced that many of the state’s 274 remote Aboriginal communities would be closed, protesters  shut down major cities during peak hour on Friday.

Barnett has not provided details about how many or which communities will be affected, saying only there would be “significantly fewer” at the end of the reform process.

In protest, activist group Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance has held frequent rallies around the country, with the last round of protests held on 1 May in more than 90 locations……..

Protest organisers did not return requests from Guardian Australia for comment, but in a statement on their Facebook page said the intention was to bring cities to a standstill.

“As we prepare to shut down the CBD, we watch as state and federal governments prepare to shut down Aboriginal communities in clear defiance of well expressed will of the people,” the statement said.

“It is routine in the Australian colonial state for the government to degrade, discriminate against and disrespect Aboriginal people in an ongoing campaign of genocide designed to slowly destroy us.

“We have a right to stay on our homelands, we have a right to practise our culture and we have a responsibility to stand up for our brothers and sisters impacted [on] by racist policies.”

A small protest also took place in Darwin, with more planned for that city over the weekend.

June 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Life in the shadow of Australia’s windfarm ‘hell’

“Any ill health effects?” he asked, cracking open a second can of bitter before answering his own question. “Yes, it gives me more money so I can buy more beer.”

wind-farm-evil-1Minimal sound and almost no fury: life in the shadow of Australia’s windfarm ‘hell’, Guardian 27 June 15 As the political cacophony about ‘noisy, visually awful’ wind turbines reaches fever pitch, Calla Wahlquist visits the farmers who host one of the southern hemisphere’s largest windfarms and finds them stubbornly unperturbed   “………..On Monday night the Davies family opened their home to Guardian Australia to spend the night next to a windfarm. Bernice was right; you couldn’t hear the turbines inside the house.

But as any proponent of “wind turbine syndrome” will tell you, it’s infrasound – low-frequency sound beyond human hearing – that allegedly causes problems.

However, despite comments from the prime minister, Tony Abbott, that windfarms are noisy, “visually awful” and have a “potential health impact”, and from shock jock Alan Jones that living next to them was “hell”, the Davies family don’t have any complaints.

Their only gripe is that cuts to the renewable energy target mean the second stage of the development has been shelved, and they’re unlikely to get the final four turbines they had been promised……… Continue reading

June 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Debunking the myths on the cost of wind energy

How much does wind energy cost? Debunking the myths, The Conversation, , June 23, 2015 Are renewables pushing up the cost of electricity? That’s the claim made by Alan Moran in an opinion piece for the Australian Financial Review this week.

Moran, executive director of Regulation Economics and a former director at the Institute of Public Affairs, argues that increasing investment in renewables and particularly wind energy will cost consumers billions of dollars. The high operating costs and requirements for backup when the wind isn’t blowing are the problem, he argues.

But the evidence actually suggests the opposite: wind energy is already competitive with fossil fuels, will reduce electricity prices for consumers, and will play a large role in reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

So, let’s go through Moran’s claims one by one…………

June 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South West Victoria’s wind farm goes ahead

ACT-backed wind farm project to go ahead in Victoria, ABC News, 27 June 15 The Ararat wind farm has secured finance to build 75 turbines in south-west Victoria, helping the Australian Capital Territory to meet its renewable energy target (RET).

The project was one of three winners of the ACT Government’s 200 megawatt wind auction held earlier this year.

It is also the first major contract to be signed following the Federal Government’s decision to lower the renewable energy target.

Environment Minister Simon Corbell said without the ACT’s 20-year feed-in tariff, the Victorian project would not have gone ahead.

“There’s no doubt the ACT’s large scale feed-in tariff law allows projects to be bankable, that is it allows them to get the finance they need to go ahead,” he said…………

June 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Antony Hegarty speaks out on Q and A against the nuclear industry

text-NoQ & A ABC TV Monday 22 June, 2015 “………….CURTIS TAYLOR: Thanks, Tony. I travelled here with my family from the western desert and my question to the panel is: There has been huge momentum around the Recognise campaign and changing the Constitution. What we want to know is when are we going to talk about changing the Native Title Act because for us the problem is native title is not land rights? We have native title over our country and we have been forced to negotiate with mining companies like Cameco over the Kintyre uranium project and Reward Minerals over the Lake Disappointment, Kumpupirntily. Both mining projects we don’t want on our country but we have no rights to say no to mining under native title. When will Australia start talking about changing the Native Title Act and getting real land rights for Indigenous people? …….

TONY JONES: Antony, I’m going to bring you in here and ask you how you got involved in this because, you know, we know you as a singer, obviously, but this is a new side of you. Very few people would know you have spent time with the Martu people. So how did you get involved and what’s your understanding of the situation?

ANTONY HEGARTY: Well, I would just add to that from the side of corporations and business interests in general, it is the oldest – it’s the story as old as the hills. It is the story of – it’s the story of the, like, you know, the virulent consumption of North America, you know, is to manipulate, to divide and conquer Indigenous people, create a cloud of confusion and then rush in and steal the spoils during that window of opportunity and then it’s too late to go back. You know, these kinds of damages that you are proposing, that the companies your party represents are proposing, you know, are irreversible. You know, and they affect the most pristine lands on this continent, in some of the most beautiful places in the world and affect some of the most plugged in, spiritually aware and forward thinking communities in this country. You know, the Indigenous people of Australia are one of our most precious resources in terms of being a people that have an almost unbroken, you know, story that goes back 60,000 years of maintaining a sustainable relationship with nature and with treading lightly on the ground and leaving no trace and collaborating with nature in a sustainable way……….

ANTONY HEGARTY: Moral obligation. You got two claps. You got two claps. Why don’t you ask Germany – why don’t you ask Germany if uranium mining is the way forward? Like, why don’t you ask the companies that are, like, investing so much money in renewable energy? That’s the way forward. You know, usage of minerals and materials and natural resources that don’t have the capacity to destroy whole regions in the process of excavating them or whole countries in the process of bombing them, do you know what I mean. Or look at what happened in Japan. I mean, you know, there was grieving that took place in the Martu community after the nuclear spill in Japan because they felt responsible for that material as stewards of their land. That material was taken from their land and they felt like a burden, a (indistinct) burden, you know, a spiritual burden that they were somehow connected to that catastrophe……..
LINDA TIRADO: Right. But if you start – I think that if you start with wind and solar and then you look at what else you need to do after that, that would be your moral obligation. You don’t start with the most potentially dangerous and then move on to the most innocuous, right?

TONY JONES: Okay, I’m going to quickly go to Grahame because you were doing quite a good impersonation of steam power there. It was coming out of your ears.

GRAHAME MORRIS: Oh, God. Look, you know, not everyone wants a bloody big windmill in their back yard. Look, nuclear power is clean. It is the clean energy.

ANTONY HEGARTY: We’d be happy to dig – we’d be happy to dig a uranium mine in your garden. ……..

June 25, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

British musician Antony Hegarty joins the Martu people in their struggle against uranium mining

handsoffUK musician joins Indigenous campaign against uranium mine  The elders of the Martu people in Western Australia’s Pilbara region are campaigning against a proposed uranium mine and they’ve received support from an unlikely ally – an avant-garde British musician.

Senior Martu artists in Parnngurr in the east Pilbara region of Western Australia are taking on the mining giants.

They painted ‘Kalyu’ to help raise funds for their campaign. It depicts the waterways or Kalyu over the proposed Kintyre uranium mine.

“Kalyu tells the story about water that’s on the surface, which can be waterholes, springs, rockholes soaks that you can dig up and drink but also see it visibly,” says one artist’s grandson, Curtis Taylor.

“Forever that uranium belongs to that place, underground.” “But it’s poison, when you dig it up – when it gets exposed.” “We are carrying the land, we are that close,” his grandfather Wokka Taylor said.

And the campaign has caught worldwide attention.

Avante-guard British musician Antony Hegarty is joining the campaign, moved by the Martu people’s connection to nature.”They have an almost unbroken connection to 60,000 years of land stewardship and stepping gently and leaving no trace.

“They’re environmental experts and they’re spiritual experts and they have a lot to teach us,” he said. Backing a push to stop Canadian Mining giant Cameco, along with Japanese owned Mitsubishi from going ahead with the uranium mine.

Concerned environmentalists are also joining the fight……..

June 25, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia at ‘the back of the pack’ in renewable energy progress

In Australia, while the RET changes will reduce the growth of renewables from the previously legislated target, the scheme will still produce a dramatic lift in the amount of renewable energy in the system.

Paths to renewable energy efficiency THE AUSTRALIAN SID MAHER, JUNE 24, 2015 As Australia moves to rein in the growth of renewable energy in its electricity generation mix, Germany, Europe’s most powerful economy, is doing the opposite.

Germany is doubling down on its bet that solar, wind and hydro-electricity will become cheaper as more is produced, underpin its future as an economic powerhouse, and allow it to take on China in industrial production………..

Climate Institute chief executive John Connor says it is important for Australians to understand Australia is the only country scaling back on renewables and on carbon abatement markets.

“We are at the back of the pack when it comes to the carbon intensity of advanced economies,” he says. “It is walking backwards when others are striding forward.’’ Continue reading

June 24, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Economist Ross Garnaut says nuclear power is too costly

Nuclear power may be too costly for us: Ross Garnaut  THE AUSTRALIAN JUNE 22, 2015Nuclear energy may be too ­costly in Australia to compete with renewables, a prominent economist says.

Ahead of his 2015 Luxton Memorial Lecture at the University of Adelaide tomorrow, Ross Garnaut told The Australian the world was moving decisively ­towards a low-carbon economy and Australia was uniquely placed to benefit from this.

However, Australia needed to remove political debate from discussion on renewable energy and instead let economics ­decide, Professor Garnaut said…….

His doubts about the economic merits of nuclear energy come during the South Australian royal commission into ­nuclear energy and ahead of ­debate at Labor’s national conference next month over its position on nuclear energy.

June 21, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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