Australian news, and some related international items

Australia – a military colony of USA

THE US OF AUSTRALIA’S MILITARY PRESENCE, Curiouser and Cruriouser e musing APRIL 26, 2015    It is no real secret that the United States has had a military presence in Australia for a long time. I would speculate this presence became permanent as far back as WWI. The post WWII era saw the building of Pine Gap [plus at least 2 other US controlled bases on (under) Australia’s soil]… Pine Gap is still a vital component of the US arsenal according to the Age in July 2013…


and a potential pivotal target for a false flag event or other sinister plot…………..

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

Australia an international pariah for its anti climate action policies

cartoon-climate-AustAustralia seen as ‘public enemy No.1′ on climate, Peter Doherty says, The Age April 25, 2015  Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent  Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty says Australia is being seen internationally as “public enemy number one” on climate change and risks being isolated as China seeks to reduce its reliance on coal.

Professor Doherty, who is in Hong Kong for an Asia Society symposium on making cities more sustainable, said there was a perception that Australia was not playing a constructive role in the lead-up to the United Nations climate change conference in Paris later this year, which many see as the world’s “last best chance” for global action to reduce carbon emissions.

“Australia is being regarded as public enemy number one,” said Professor Doherty, who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 1996.

“That’s a statement that’s been made to me by a couple of people – so that’s obviously a kind of buzz that’s going around the climate change community.”

He said the Abbott government seemed to have “firmly popped themselves into the climate change denial camp”.

“I don’t know if that’s necessarily the position of the Environment Minister [Greg Hunt] but you can’t say that you accept the realities of climate change and then want to maximise the sale of coal – it just doesn’t make sense.”

He said Australia had gone from being seen as a global leader in addressing climate change under the former Labor Government, to being “behind the game,” under Mr Abbott’s leadership.

He said he was concerned Australia could be isolated internationally as China reduced its reliance on coal and made greater use of solar, wind and nuclear power.

“What worries me is that Australia will kind of be seen as the fall guy for this – the guys that didn’t do anything and really behaved irresponsibly – and we’re pretty vulnerable.”…….

Professor Doherty attacked the government for its decision to allocate $4 million to establish a think tank headed by “sceptical environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg.

“It’s in character, but it’s a pretty extraordinary thing to do, after all the talk about the need to constrain resources,” Professor Doherty said.

“To hand our that sort of money, presumably on the basis of no peer review whatever for what is really a blatantly political exercise – well, you know they’re the government and they can do it, but it certainly doesn’t cause you to have any great respect for them.”

He said Australia needed to do more to foster the use of renewable energy and sustainable building technologies, and said massive continued urbanisation in Asia offered enormous opportunities for Australian companies that excelled in these fields……..


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

AGL Energy to shut all coal power stations by 2050

Australian energy firm AGL to shut all coal power stations by 2050  About-face after buying coal power stations in 2014

*Will add to pressure on Australia’s coal industry

* Environmental lobby sceptical (Adds reaction from environmentalists, background)

By Byron Kaye SYDNEY, April 17 (Reuters) – AGL Energy Ltd, Australia’s No.2 power retailer and its biggest carbon polluter, said on Friday it would not buy any more coal-fired power stations and would close all its existing coal-fired power plants by 2050.

The company, which became Australia’s biggest owner of coal-fired power stations when it bought two plants from New South Wales state for A$1.5 billion ($1.17 billion) in 2014, announced the apparent about-face in a new “greenhouse gas policy”.

Although the shutdowns may be far in the future, the AGL policy introduces a domestic element to a slowdown already confronting the Australian coal industry as exports to Chinadrop and that country shifts towards cleaner energy options………

However, the move won only grudging praise from environmentalists.

“It’s good that they’re finally listening to the nine out of 10 Australians who want more renewable energy but it’s a shame that they’re going to keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere until 2050, when most of their dirty power plants would have been shut anyway,” said James Grugeon, director of market impacts at GetUp!, an activist group.  “It’s a step forward after several steps backwards.”……..

April 18, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Green bonds promise steady returns

piggy-ban-renewablesEmerging frameworks for green bonds could boost finance for renewable energy, REneweconmy By Elena Basic, Mark Robinson and David Fullbrook on 16 April 2015 Green bonds are an emerging class of debt promising investors steady returns without costing the Earth. Since the label appeared a few years ago enthusiasm from nuanced investors worldwide has ensured a warm reception. Next, frameworks and standards now being drafted should deliver credibility for the mainstream and globally connect many more investors to sustainable activities, including renewable energy.

Globally, in 2014 investors snapped up US$36 billion of labelled green bonds, against US$11 billion in 2013, with the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), estimating the market could reach US$100 billion in 2015. Inclusion of unlabelled environmental bonds puts the current market at over $500 million estimates CBI. Indeed, if recent trends hold for labelled green bonds then the market could come 2017 top US$1 trillion.

US and Europe have dominated issuance, though momentum is gathering in Australia too. The first green bond in Australian dollars, raising A$300 million, was issued by the World Bank in 2014 to finance climate change mitigation and adaptation. National Australian Bank (NAB) followed initially seeking to raise A$150 million through the bond issue, which subsequently doubled due to A$300 million, for a portfolio of 17 renewable-energy projects in late 2014. NAB went on to help arrange refinancing of the Hallett Hill 2 wind farm in March 2015 with a A$205 million green bond in the US private-placement market.

While the sums pale compared to the $100 trillion global bond market, the trends are promising. Continue reading

April 18, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Sale of uranium to India is NOT a done deal, despite Julie Bishop’s enthusiasm for it

India-uranium1However, the deal has run into opposition at the parliamentary committee level in Canberra where the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has yet to submit its report on the deal. In February this year, the committee held several hearings with nuclear experts opposed to the deal because of India’s refusal to sign the NPT (Non-Proliferation treaty).

Australian Minister upbeat on clearing snags in n-deal

Hopes that framework for trade can be fixed in 2015

The Australian government is confident of resolving issues over the civil nuclear deal when officials meet next week, said visiting Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. “Given that the United States and Canada have come to an understanding with India that satisfies their requirements, I don’t see why Australia cannot,” Ms. Bishop told journalists during a closed-door interaction in Delhi. The Foreign Minister also said she hoped the framework for uranium trade could be concluded in 2015.

India and Australia signed the civil nuclear deal in September 2014, which would have enabled Australia to supply uranium to India, once the treaty was ratified by Australian parliament. Continue reading

April 15, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill stunned NT Treasurer in his U turn on nuclear power

Weatherill,-Jay-wastesNT Treasurer stunned by nuclear about-turn in SA Financial Review, by Simon Evans 15 Apr 15 The Northern Territory Treasurer is amazed by the backflip on nuclear policy in South Australia.

Dave Tollner was part of John Howard’s government more than a decade ago when South Australia’s Labor Premier Mike Rann waged a vigorous battle, which went all the way to the High Court, to stop a low-level nuclear waste dump being located in far north South Australia.”I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a turnaround,” he says.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill’s royal commission into the potential establishment of a nuclear industry is now well into its first few weeks in South Australia and a likely final report is due early next year.

 Mr Rann, the Labor Premier who was a strident anti-uranium campaigner in his native New Zealand before coming to work for then premier Don Dunstan in the 1970s, was vehemently opposed to any former of nuclear waste dump and launched legal action to stop it after he became premier of South Australia in 2002.

Mr Tollner, who is now in charge of the purse strings in the Northern Territory in a government led by Chief Minister Adam Giles, recalls the struggle by the Howard government to site a low-level dump near Woomera in far north South Australia which ended in 2004 after Mr Rann won a High Court challenge………

The decision by Mr Rann to oppose a low-level nuclear waste dump ultimately resulted in a federal government proposal almost 10 years later to site a dump on indigenous land at the remote Muckaty station in the Northern Territory. But that proposal also was abandoned when an agreement was terminated by traditional owners in June, 2014 leading federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane to seek proposals for a new location……..

April 15, 2015 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Tax-payers $billions in auction for Abbott govt’s Direct Action scheme

Hunt-direct-actionDirect Action: Billions of taxpayers’ dollars up for grabs in Government-run auction to buy pollution, ABC News 15 Apr 15 By national environment reporter Jake Sturmer and Lisa Main The centrepiece of the Federal Government’s flagship climate policy begins today, with billions of taxpayers’ dollars up for grabs in a Government-run auction to buy pollution.

The Government’s flagship Direct Action climate policy was designed to replace the carbon tax, which was removed in July last year.

At its core is the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), which is designed to do the heavy lifting in reducing Australia’s emissions, but analysts who have modelled the scheme doubt it will work.

Comprised of $2.5 billion of taxpayers’ money, the ERF will directly pay polluters not to pollute and, among other things, encourage farmers to develop carbon sinks.

Around 250 projects are eligible to bid in this first auction according to the Clean Energy Regulator, with most of those in the land sector.

Bidders will include farmers who allow their property to revegetate with native bushland and piggeries that capture methane released from their animals.

The auction began at 9:00am (AEST) today and closes at 5:00pm tomorrow, with bidders committing how much they will reduce emissions by and then setting a price per tonne of carbon……..

April 15, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

2,500 jobs lost through Abbott govt’s attack on renewable energy

Abbott-destroys-renewablesRenewable energy sector has lost almost 2,500 jobs in last two years, says ABS report, ABC News, 13 Apr 15  By national environment reporter Jake Sturmer The renewable energy sector has lost almost 2,500 jobs in the last two years, according to official figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Job numbers in the sector peaked between 2011 and 2012 at 14,890, but fell by 15 per cent to 12,590 (a loss of 2,300 jobs) between 2013 and 2014.

Uncertainty surrounding the future of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) hit the sector hard, with industry groups claiming investment in clean technology has virtually stalled.

Major political parties are currently locked in a standoff over how much to cut the RET by, with the Government rejecting a proposal backed by Labor and the Clean Energy Council for a 33,500 gigawatt hour target………

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ first report into renewable energy employment highlighted how Government policies influence job levels in the sector via taxes, subsidies and pricing policies.

“Uncertainty over the future of the RET, or over the size of the renewable power percentage, is likely to have a flow on effect on future investment in renewable energy infrastructure,” the report said.

Since 2011-12 all mainland Australian states have experienced a decline in annual direct [full time equivalent] employment in renewable energy activities.”

Among the hardest hit were the states of Queensland and Western Australia.

“The largest such fall was in Queensland, where employment fell by 34 per cent from 3,820 to 2,520 between 2011-12 and 2013-14,” the report said.

“For the same period, Western Australia experienced a fall of 920 (from 1,740 to 820), or 53 per cent.”

The report shows the industry grew by 41 per cent between 2009 and 2010 and the peak of 2011-2012.

April 15, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Energy Australia, Origin Energy and AGL – Australia’s top carbon polluters

Energy Australia’s and Origin Energy’s toxic emissions soared by 500%: GetUp, Guardian, , 15 Apr 15 
Activist group also says AGL has become Australia’s biggest carbon polluter, despite generating the highest proportion of its energy from renewable sources 
Emissions of toxic pollution by EnergyAustralia and Origin Energy have increased by more than 500% in the past financial year, and AGL has become the country’s biggest carbon polluter, a new study claims.

Together the trio account for 13% of Australia’s total carbon emissions, according to the report by the activist group GetUp. It claims the companies operate behind a “smokescreen of sustainability” that obscures their reliance on high-pollution power stations and lobbying to reduce the renewable energy target (RET)……….

GetUp’s director of market impacts, James Grugeon, said he hoped the data would help consumers “to start to make informed decisions” about their power provider. About 70% of Australians are customers of the three companies; that figure climbs to about 90% in NSW……..

April 15, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Thousands of Australians rally against closure of remote indigenous communities

Australians Protest Forced Indigenous Community Closures 10 April 2015 This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:
Activists say Indigenous Australians are being forced off their land nationwide. Thousands of protesters rallied in Australia’s two largest cities Friday against government plans to forcefully shut down Indigenous communities. Indigenous elder and activist Jenny Munro said the rallies were a “call to arms” to all Australians. “This is about the community being made aware about the truth of what goes on in this country,” she told progressive news website New Matilda. Munro joined thousands of other protesters in Sydney who marched from Belmore Park to the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

April 11, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian Greens want big mines, bankers and polluters to pay fair share of tax

Milne-Chris-sm Christine Milne: Our progressive tax system isn’t working. Miners, bankers and polluters must pay their share, Guardian , 8 April
The Greens have developed a fully-costed tax proposal that values equality and innovation and adequately taxes the big end of town

… The whole point of tax is to raise the revenue we need to pay for the Australian society we want: the Greens’ vision for this society is one that values equality, is caring, innovative, healthy, and protected from the impacts of global warming. …

We want the big miners, bankers and polluters to pay their fair share first. We have a fully costed platform, which raises almost $80bn over the forward estimates, and proves that if the government was serious about an equitable society and transforming to an innovative economy based on clean energy, services and knowledge, reining in spending, and raising revenue from those who can afford to pay, they could look at a number of measures. …

Abolishing tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry (except those used for agricultural purposes) would raise $10.05bn. The G20, IMF, OECD and World Bank have all urged governments to stop providing subsidies for fossil fuel use. By taking away miners’ tax-free fuel, the government could uphold Australia’s international commitment and also raise $10bn over the next four years alone.

To put it simply, the Greens want genuine restructuring of the Australian economy to make our society more equitable, more innovative and resilient as the world moves to address global warming and global inequality.


April 9, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Ian Viner, former Federal Liberal Minister condemns Western Australian govt’s push to change Aboriginal Heritage laws

WA reforms destroy sacred indigenous heritage: Ian Viner VICTORIA LAURIE THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 04, 2015

Fraser government ­Aboriginal Affairs minister Ian Viner has described as “truly ­offensive” and “fundamentally destructive of Aboriginal cultural heritage protection” the West Australian government’s Aboriginal heritage reforms, amid growing opposition to proposed changes.

Mr Viner, who introduced the Northern Territory Aboriginal land rights act into federal parliament in 1976, has weighed into the debate over protection of ­aboriginal sites after a West Australian ­Supreme Court finding that the government was wrong to deregister the land and sea surrounding the iron ore export hub of Port Hedland as an Abo­riginal sacred site.

The state government, through its Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee, had sought to clear the way for multi-million dollar port extensions by removing Aboriginal claims that certain coastal mangroves and seaways were sacred.

The case turned on a controversial requirement, introduced in 2013, that a sacred site could qualify only if religious activity occurred on it.

Justice John Chaney referred the case back to the ACMC, which is tasked with assessing site protection under the Aboriginal Heritage Act……..

Mr Viner said the Barnett government’s bid to rewrite its state heritage laws — in changes enshrined in a heritage amendment bill yet to pass through ­parliament — was bad legislation that would result in the government being labelled a ­cultural pariah.

“The clear intention of the legislation is to seriously restrict the opportunity for Aboriginal participation in the administration of the act,” he said in an opinion sent to the Aboriginal Heritage Action Alliance and obtained by The Australian.

“(It would) weaken and limit the protection of heritage places and objects so as to allow more and easier access to land.

“In the interests of good governance and the Aboriginal people of Western Australia and their cultural heritage, and the government not being regarded as cultural pariahs, the bill should be withdrawn.”

Alliance spokesman Clayton Lewis, representing several indig­enous land groups, said that the heritage amendments should be referred to a parliamentary select committee “so the issues can be properly ­examined”.


April 4, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott internationally recognised as ‘world’s worst climate villain’

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmAbbott the ‘world’s worst climate villain’ still cautious and sceptical, a US publication says Tony Abbott’s recently released climate discussion paper is a welcome sign.Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been described in the US as the “world’s worst climate villain”.

That’s the bad news for the prime minister.

The good news is Mother Jones, the San Francisco-based nonprofit news organisation that gave him the label, is cautiously heartened by his government’s recently published climate issues paper.

With a new global climate deal to be hammered out in Paris later this year, Abbott’s issues paper states it is in Australia’s national interest for “a strong and effective global agreement, that addresses carbon leakage and delivers environmental benefit”.

Tuesday’s Mother Jones article, with the headline “The World’s Worst Climate Villain Just Showed Us Exactly How to Stop Global Warming”, said there’s reason to be sceptical and not get too excited about Abbott’s climate stance.

“I have no idea what ‘carbon leakage’ is,” Mother Jones climate desk associate producer Tim McDonnell wrote.

“Presumably it’s something similar to carbon dioxide emissions, which are the leading cause of global warming.

“Regardless, the announcement is a welcome sign from an administration that was recently ranked as the ‘worst industrial country in the world’ on climate action.”

Mother Jones describes itself as a nonprofit news organisation specialising in investigative, political and social justice reporting.

April 3, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Business bodies call for end to the inertia on Renewable Energy Target

Renewable energy target: Peak bodies call for end to ‘detrimental’ deadlock in open letter to politicians, ABC News 30 Mar 15  By environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer  Peak bodies representing clean energy companies and electricity users have written an open letter to Australia’s politicians urging them to resolve the renewable energy target (RET) impasse.

Last week the Government emphatically rejected a proposal from the Clean Energy Council for a compromise on the RET.

A group of peak business associations including the Business Council of Australia, Clean Energy Council (CEC) and Energy Users Association of Australia warned time was running out.

“[The CEC compromise] provides a strong basis for a speedy negotiated outcome,” the letter read.

“The uncertainty of this unresolved review is having a material and detrimental impact on the renewable energy sector, energy users, the traditional energy sector and the broader business community.

“The impact will increase significantly if the issue remains unresolved.”………Both the Coalition and Labor agreed to cut the target, but are yet to settle on how big the reduction should be.

Labor want a figure in the mid-to-high 30,000s GWh and has said there will be no deal if the Government does not lift its offer.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane told the ABC last week he was not considering anything above 32,000 GWh

March 30, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

British report slams Australia for its polluting industries, high carbon emissions

New British report highlights urgent need for action on renewable energy investment in Australia  ABC Radio PM David Taylor reported this story on Friday, March 27, 2015 MARK COLVIN: A new British report has singled out four Australian energy companies as being among the worst polluters in the world. The research from Oxford University warns of the risks they pose to the economy and the environment.Australia has 22 coal-fired power stations which account for around a quarter of the nation’s carbon emissions.

DAVID TAYLOR: Leading international researchers say Australia has a poor record on tackling greenhouse emissions produced by the nation’s energy companies.

Now, a British report has singled out some of the nation’s worst polluters.

Oxford University researcher, Ben Caldecott.

BEN CALDECOTT: Those were AGL, Origin, Stanwell, and Delta.  Continue reading

March 28, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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