Coal, gas profits suffer as business goes solar BY:MATT CHAMBERS The Australian May 22, 2013 SOLAR power systems are being installed by businesses at triple the rate they were a year ago as a glut of Chinese cells and rising Australian power prices combine to improve solar’s economics and threaten the profits of coal and gas-fired power providers.
Many of the photovoltaic cell systems used by businesses — which mostly need power during the day when solar cells work best — are being installed without major subsidies, the relative economics have improved so much…….(subscribers only) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/coal-gas-profits-suffer-as-business-goes-solar/story-e6frg8zx-1226647947538
Obama’s 31,541,507 readers learn about Climate Change from Australian John Cook – of SKEPTICAL SCIENCE
Obama gives Aussie researcher 31,541,507 reasons to celebrate, SMH, May 17, 2013 Peter Hannam It’s the social media equivalent of hitting the jackpot: having your study tweeted by US President Barack Obama.
Australian researcher John Cook, an expert in climate change communication, was inundated with requests for interviews by US media outlets after Obama took to Twitter to endorse his project’s final report….. A survey of scientific papers by a team led by Mr Cook and published by Fairfax Media this week found more than 97 per cent of researchers endorsed the view that humans are to blame for global warming. The peer-reviewed outcome flies in the face of public perception in countries such as the US or Australia that scientists are divided on the issue.
“One of the highest predictors of how important people think climate change is, is cues from political leaders,” Mr Cook said. “So if the leaders don’t seem to care, people don’t care either. “A cue from Obama is a big step,” he said. “The fact it goes to more than 31 million followers, it just raises the awareness of consensus.”
That’s 31,541,507 followers, to be precise. Retweets recently stood at 1,746 with Twitter carrying a long stream of comments…….
Mr Cook’s timing was fortuitous. The Obama administration is battling Republicans in Senate who are opposed to the president’s nomination of Gina McCarthy to lead the country’s Environmental Protection Agency.
Without sufficient Congressional support for a price on carbon, Mr Obama has used the EPA as his main tool for trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for warming the planet.
Mr Cook said reports on the scientific consensus linking humans to climate change “tend to bounce around the echo chamber”.“Something like what Obama did really helps in getting that information out into the general public,” he said.
While most of the interest has been positive, Mr Cook expects some negative attention from those who reject the scientific consensus – something that some academics have found to their dismay.
“Generally the level of hate you get is in proportion to the impact you have,” he said.
“There’s an increase in academic bullying where climate deniers are sending complaints to journals or the university … and this actually works. “I’ve have anecdotal examples of academics who are scared of that kind of reaction and who are playing things close to their chest – which is a real shame,” he said.: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/obama-gives-aussie-researcher-31541507-reasons-to-celebrate-20130517-2jqrh.html#ixzz2TgUixcG8
Sister Bullwinkel and a Nuclear Japan, May 15, 2013 By Major Van Harl USAF Ret Wisconsin –(Ammoland.com)- Vivian Bullwinkel was a young Lieutenant in the Australian Army Nursing Service…… Bullwinkel hid her wound because she knew, if the Japanese found out she had survived the Bangka Island Massacre of twenty-one Army nurses, she would be shot. You cannot leave witnesses when you commit atrocities. Wartime atrocities were committed by the Japanese through out the Pacific region of WW II. Today’s problem is Japan is working hard to re-write history…..
Now North Korea has nuclear weapons and Japan is getting very worried. If Japan changes its constitution and builds up an offensive military they will take their world class missiles that we know about and marry them to their world class nukes that we act like we do not know about.They will then become a first world player in the nuclear game and the US is obligated by treaty to defend Japan if it is attacked.
Is a nuclear armed Japan really a good thing even if they are supposed to be our best ally in that part of the world?…. If they amend their constitution and go nuclear that is a game changer as far as I am concerned. The US should not be obligated to defend Japan if they push too hard and start a shooting war just so they can save “face” dealing with China. http://www.ammoland.com/2013/05/sister-bullwinkel-and-a-nuclear-japan/#ixzz2TVN7CNqo
Milne blasts cuts to green schemes, BY:LAUREN WILSON , The Australian May 16, 2013 GREENS leader Christine Milne remains confident the legislated carbon package can drive the economic transition from coal to renewable energy, despite the “deep cuts” Labor made in its budget to green schemes and the slump in the European carbon price.
Senator Milne accused Labor of “reneging” on the agreement it reached with the Greens and the regional independents through the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, by making cutbacks of $685 million to renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, as well as slashing $257m from the Biodiversity Fund.
“The Labor Party cannot be trusted with this critical area of transition to a low-carbon economy,” she said.
But despite declaring the cuts a “disgrace”, Senator Milne said the climate package legislated after the MPCCC clinched a deal in 2011 “will be effective into the future” despite the plummeting European carbon price and the cut to renewables funding. ”Quite outside what this parliament does, the fact is that the technology for renewables is becoming cheaper and what we are seeing is greater competition for renewables,” she said.
Senator Milne, who has previously noted a high carbon price and significant and sustained investment in renewable energy would be essential to drive the transition away from brown coal, said: “I’m hoping that if the European price gets back to the floor price, $15 in 2015, then we’ll be on track, and with the technology prices coming down,” she said.
The minor party leader called on Tony Abbott to block the funding cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency…. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/treasury/milne-blasts-cuts-to-green-schemes/story-fnhi8df6-1226643419221
We must note that approval for this project does not mean that the deal is done and dusted. Activists should take inspiration from the recent campaign at James Price Point which saw Woodside forced to shelve its plans for a gas hub there. In that case an organised community campaign pushed the big business interests back.
Labor approves WA’s first uranium mine, Socialist Party, 10 May 13, Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke gave the go ahead to Toro’s $270 million uranium mining project in the Wiluna region of Western Australia last month. This decision has angered many people across the state especially the local aboriginal community – the Wiluna and Tarpla people.
Wiluna elder, Glen Cooke, said “Uranium should stay in the ground. It can hurt our Country, the environment, our people, our children, our children’s children”. Read more »
A bid for freedom: Why Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is running for a seat in the Australian Senate, TNT. 7th May 2013 By Carol Driver Honesty. That’s what Julian Assange’s campaign manager claims is driving the WikiLeaks founder’s bid for the Australian Senate in September’s election.
Greg Barnes, ex-head of the Australian Republican Movement, was last week announced as Assange’s main man for the WikiLeaks Party campaign for a seat in Victoria.
According to Barnes, who lives in Hobart, the “sorts of values” Assange brings to the political landscape include “greater transparency in decision making” and “an examination of the way that the state in Australia is encroaching on the rights of individuals”.
He added: “These are the sorts of issues which do concern Australians. And the current political parties in Australia don’t address either of those issues. Julian Assange certainly does. And he’s got runs on the board when it comes to walking the walk and talking the talk through WikiLeaks.“ http://www.tntmagazine.com/news/features/a-bid-for-freedom-why-julian-assange-is-running-for-a-seat-in-the-australian-senate
Donated Solar Power System Lights Up A Life http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3730 9 May 13, Julie Wood is the good Samaritan neighbour we all wish we had and some of us aspire to be. Julie recently donated an Energy Matters solar power system to her struggling next door neighbour.
A single mum, Julie currently works three jobs so she can put her son through college. A battler herself; Julie reached out to help her neighbour Joe, who is fighting cancer as well as dealing with multiple sclerosis.
Julie decided to go solar to help save for retirement and after much research and word-of-mouth referrals, she chose Energy Matters to install her system – the company had installed other solar arrays in her town of Katamatite in Victoria, situated halfway between Cobram and Shepparton. At the time of her purchase, Energy Matters was running a competition with a $2,000 cash prize that asked the question: ‘What would you do with the savings you will make by installing solar?’. Julie’s entry, which stated she would use the money to help her neighbour by installing solar to slash his electricity bill, was chosen as the winner by Energy Matters.
Julie has known Joe for around 7 years and she’s been aware he’s had mounting bills. For example, recent radiation treatment cost Joe $6,000. With cold weather rapidly approaching, Joe was concerned about heating his house this winter. Previously, Joe would chop wood to heat his home but he now understandably has no energy for the task – and his electricity bills have doubled over the past 5 years.
The 1.75kW system recently installed by Energy Matters will save Joe approximately $500 a year.
Even though the high-efficiency system was valued at more than the $2,000 Julie won, Energy Matters was more than happy to donate the difference so Joe’s life could be made a little more comfortable.
“For people who are hurting due to out of control electricity costs, solar can make a real difference,” says Nick Brass, co-founder of Energy Matters. ”These days the biggest interest in solar is coming from Aussie battlers like Julie and Joe who are fed up with paying crazy electricity prices.” Both Julie and Joe will be saving on their bills for many years to come in a way that has also strengthened their friendship. While solar is certainly a good news element of this story; the more important aspect is the kindness and selflessness shown by Julie – something that Energy Matters applauds.
Selling uranium is concerning Border Mail, MRS CHRIS SOBEY, Albury, May 6, 2013 THE recent news Australia will sell uranium to India is of enormous concern.
But worse than that pillaging, I believe, is the state and federal governments’ recent approval of the expansion of the Olympic Dam mine, which is destined to become the world’s biggest man-made crater. The waste, in its 44-square kilometre storage facility, will remain active for 10,000 years, while the entire operation will leach up to 8 million litres of contaminated waste water into groundwater each day.
Uranium sales to India fuel nuclear arms fears 6 MAY 2013, KAREN ASHFORD, SBS Critics of planned Australian uranium exports to India warn the deal will accelerate India’s nuclear arms race against Pakistan. Transcript from World News Australia Radio) ”……The Gillard government is going down the same route as the US and Canada, circumventing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty y instead striking a bilateral agreement containing safeguards guaranteeing how Australian uranium will be used……
He says the world uranium price has gone from 140 U-S dollars a pound in 1997 to 40 U-S dollars a pound today, and some 150 nuclear stations in Europe are scheduled for closure… and that with nuclear in retreat worldwide, the industry is pursuing India.
The world uranium sector is in huge trouble at the moment so I think the Australian government at the behest of the mining industry who obviously are the loudest voices at the table are looking for any markets at all, because the sector is in such trouble. So they see India as an industrialising nation with a growing power sector, they see the dollar signs but they quite clearly don’t seem to be interested in the risks.”
Senator Ludlam says India has a history of nuclear accidents, near misses and misadventure, and it’s only a matter of time until a serious incident occurs – something he thinks Australia’s shouldn’t want to be implicated in.
But even more troubling he says is the escalating tension between India and its neighbour Pakistan.
“India is a nuclear weapons state and they’re on the record saying they’re trying to buy foreign sources of uranium so they can lock up their domestic reserves for a nuclear arms race with Pakistan. So it’s a very volatile and dangerous security situation into which to be selling uranium.”….. The negotiations for the export of Australian uranium to India are expected to take two years; Scott Ludlam says he’ll be using that time to push for an inquiry and stop the deal. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1763258/Uranium-sales-to-India-fuel-nuclear-arms-fears
Aust could fuel India ‘nuclear accident’ SBS WORLD NEWS, 21 MAR 2013, A nuclear disarmament group says an accident like Fukushima could happen in India with uranium sold from Australia.Anti-nuclear campaigners have raised concerns Australian uranium could fuel a nuclear accident in India similar to the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters.
Negotiations are under way in New Delhi to establish nuclear safeguards before Australia begins selling uranium to India.
Last year India’s auditor-general warned that lax safety standards could lead to a nuclear disaster. It is a concern backed up by the Indian-based Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP). ”A major catastrophic accident like Fukushima could happen in any of our 20 reactors,” CNDP spokesman Praful Bidwai told ABC television.
Workers in the reactors said they could not be relied upon to raise the alarm on an impending disaster because they were not kept informed by management.”We can be out there all day in the reactor and we wouldn’t know if we’ve been exposed to danger or not,” said Gulab Singh who works in a Rajasthan reactor.
Anti-nuclear activist Imran Khan said workers were bullied into working in the dangerous conditions. ”They know that if they don’t do the job they won’t have work, so they accept all levels of radiation and keep on working,” he said……HTTP://WWW.SBS.COM.AU/NEWS/ARTICLE/1748734/AUST-COULD-FUEL-INDIA–NUCLEAR-ACCIDENT-
Uranium sales to India fuel nuclear arms fears 6 MAY 2013 KAREN ASHFORD, SBS Negotiations to launch Australian uranium exports to India have begun, a move welcomed by the industry at its annual conference in Adelaide…..
……The Gillard government is going down the same route as the US and Canada, circumventing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty y instead striking a bilateral agreement containing safeguards guaranteeing how Australian uranium will be used.
A significant number of existing and planned reactors worldwide have been shut down or delayed in response to the disaster as nations reconsider their use of atomic energy, leading to depressed uranium prices and a general industry slowdown……http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1763258/Uranium-sales-to-India-fuel-nuclear-arms-fears
AUSTRALIA’S URANIUM EXPORT REVENUE IN PERSPECTIVE YELLOWCAKE FEVER Exposing the Uranium Industry’s Economic Myths , Australian Conservation Foundation ““…..In an assessment of the Olympic Dam royalties regime enshrined in South Australia’s amended Roxby Downs Indenture Act, journalist Paul Clearly wrote in The Australian in October 2011 that the regime “has robbed the state’s citizens and all Australians of the opportunity to share in the profits of what will become the world’s biggest mine”.
He added that the agreement “will unfortunately stand as a sad and enduring indictment of the weakness of our state governments when it comes to negotiating with powerful mining multinationals”….”. http://www.acfonline.org.au/sites/default/files/resources/ACF_Yellowcake_Fever.pdf
100% renewables for Australia – not so costly after all, REneweconomy. By Giles Parkinson 29 April 2013 An exploratory study into 100% renewable energy scenarios for Australia has concluded that its impact on consumer electricity prices over the next few decades may be no more than the increases in the last few years to support much criticised network upgrades and the introduction of the carbon price.
The report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) – you can access the executive summaryhere and the draft report here - canvasses the potential costs and practicality of transforming Australia’s coal-dependent electricity system to 100 per cent renewables, by either 2030 or 2050. It creates two scenarios – depending on the pace of falls in the cost of renewable and storage technologies – but both are considered conservative.
It concludes that the cost could range between $219 and $338 billion and would require wholesale electricity prices of $111-$133/MWh (more than double the current price). Unfortunately, and somewhat controversially, AEMO was not asked to compare these forecasts with “business as usual”, but it does provide one interesting set of data that does put it into some perspective.
The first is the impact on retail prices. ….. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/100-renewables-for-australia-not-so-costly-after-all-5021
The dirty secret of fossil fuels: more expensive than you think Crikey.com LAURA EADIE | MAY 02, 2013
Fossil fuel fans say we can’t afford to switch over to renewables. But maybe we can’t afford not to. Laura Eadie, research director for the Centre for Policy Development’s Sustainable Economy Program, reports.
The fossil fuel industry must have hoped to keep its dirty laundry private a little longer: the Australian Energy Market Operator has confirmed that a switch to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 is technically viable. What the report neglected to mention is that the investment bill of $220 to $250 billion is pretty close to the $240 billion needed by 2030 if we rely on gas and carbon storage instead… (registered readers only) http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/05/02/the-dirty-secret-of-fossil-fuels-more-expensive-than-you-think/
Selling uranium to India ‘would lead to military use‘ http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1761076/Selling-uranium-to-India-would-lead-to-military-us Selling uranium to India ‘would lead to military use’ A former diplomat has admitted the sale of Australian uranium to India would free up that country’s domestic reserves for military purposes.29 APR 2013, SOURCE: KAREN ASHFORD, SBS
A former diplomat has admitted the sale of Australian uranium to India would free up that country’s domestic reserves for military purposes.
For 30 years Australian banned uranium sales to India because of its failure to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but negotiations are now underway on a uranium deal with a safeguards agreement.
“This issue has held to ransom Australia’s relationship and the economic interests with the world’s largest democracy for 40 years,” said Former Australian Deputy High Commissioner to India Rakesh Ahuja. But the energy strategist has admitted Australian uranium would free up India’s reserves for military use.
“That has always been the case, yes, I mean we sell to China, it frees up their domestic [use] for [military purposes], yes, it’s a fact of life,” he said….. the Greens warn of the consequences.
“India is a nuclear weapons’ state. They are on the record as saying they’re trying to buy foreign sources of uranium so they can lock up their domestic reserves for a nuclear arms race with Pakistan, so it’s a very volatile and dangerous security situation into
which to be selling uranium,” said Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam.