Dennis Matthews, 4 March 14 The toxic fumes that are causing residents to flee from Morwell in Victoria and the deadly smog that is covering cities in China have the same origin, burning coal.
China appears not to have learned the lessons of Europe’s industrial revolution but Australia is in no position to criticize. Coal is the fuel of centuries past but Australia is still using it in large quantities and exporting it in massive quantities to countries like China. All in the name of increased wealth with little thought of the costs to health and the environment.
The sooner we start employing more people in energy efficiency and renewable energy the sooner we can get away from this mine-set, that digging things up and polluting air, soil and water constitutes progress.
Hate speech ignores victims’ ability to respond There is one vital point that James Allan ignores: the power relationship between abuser and victim (”These elitist hate-speech laws erode democracy”, March 3). SMH, 4 Mar 14
His naive claim that the victim can respond by saying why the abuser is wrong ignores the fact that shock-jocks or other media commentators, without such laws, are free to trade in insults without allowing their victims any opportunity to respond. Nor will a racist on a bus, screaming abuse. What would he be prepared to do to enforce the right of reply?
Ron Pretty Farmborough Heights
James Allan claims that the proof that hate speech laws don’t work is that the US doesn’t have them and Canada got rid of them, while France and Germany do have them and look at how horrible it is there.
In fact, Professor Allan would struggle to think of a country which has been successful at absorbing immigrants which doesn’t have hate speech laws – and there is a reason for that.
In countries like Australia, the community needs to send a strong message that racist vitriol is unwelcome. That is why we have laws against it………http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-letters/hate-speech-ignores-victims-ability-to-respond-20140303-340gg.html
Dennis Matthews, 3 March 14, The situation in Ukraine demonstrates the failure of Australian Government policy concerning the sale of uranium to nuclear weapons countries.
The sale of uranium to Russia, China and India was permitted on purely commercial grounds. These three countries are nuclear weapons countries and all are involved in regional conflicts.
All three countries have poor environmental and human rights track records. Russia under Vladimir Putin has become increasingly intolerant and expansionist. It now appears highly likely that Russia’s ambitions will expand from Crimea to Ukraine.
Australia’s uranium has been used to help power Russia’s armament industry including nuclear weapons. At the very least Australia should now come to Ukraine’s aid by putting a stop to the export of uranium to Russia or to any country that is likely to on-sell it to Russia.
The energy sector big boys said that the RET must be stopped because, they aren’t making the profits they used to.
Sochi and the renewable energy target, Independent Australia, 2 March 14 If we can spend $307 million on sport and $20 mill to get a few minor medals at the Winter Olympics, we can afford to keep the renewable energy target, writes Lachlan Barker. [Among]the noisome pile of slime that is Abbott Government policy was the cutting, sorry, ‘reviewing’ of the renewable energy targets.
For future reference, note that when an Abbott acolyte – sorry, troglodyte – says they are ‘reviewing’ something, it means that funding is being withdrawn; this is the simplest way to scupper anything that Government disagrees with……….
The Howard Government introduced the mandatory Renewable Energy Targets(RET) in 2001 and this led, as you would expect, to an increase in investment in clean energy sources in Australia.
Despite all the sceptics crying at the time: “Solar only works during the day” and “none of these can provide adequate base-load power”, the various renewables got a little toehold in the market and began making slow inroads.
The problem we have today is that, slow though this progress has been, it has already frightened the major players in the energy sector – Energy Australia (EA) and Origin Energy – so much that they called Canberra and told Treasurer Joe Hockey, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane that they wanted this pinko, hippy, renewable energy thingo stopped in its tracks — pronto!
The three amigos duly obliged and called for a ‘review’, with the clear goal of knocking this clean energy nonsense on the head for good.
Now, when I did my research, I thought I was going to find that the reasons given by the government for stopping the RET and continuing with coal fired power would be the old standard “solar and wind are just not practical”.
But much to my astonishment, I found that it was much simpler than that.
The energy sector big boys said that the RET must be stopped because, they aren’t making the profits they used to.
Apparently, because of the high prices that Origin and EA charge, we homeowners have begun reducing our power usage to save money.
Hence a drop in profit for coal-fired energy companies.
Added to which, with an increasing number of homeowners asking for their power to come from green sources, the energy sector latched onto this as the primary cause of their falling profits.And thus the call to Canberra to have the RET scrapped — an act of ecologic bastardry that will kill off, financially, many of the nascent green power suppliers.
So now we come to my vote for f$%^wit of the year, Burchell Wilson, Chief Economist of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He was on the ABC’s 7.30 Reportspouting a load of “renewable energy is costing the homeowner more”bollocks.
I have gone over his gobbledegook in his interview with Sarah Ferguson, and even I, the writer of this article struggle with his lack-of-logic.
So let’s go with a couple of points.
First he says, the RET is costing “$1.6 billion across the economy.”
How’s that, Burchell?
$1.6 billion would buy a lot of solar panels and quite a few wind farms but, unless they’ve been superbly camouflaged with the sort of invisibility technology that Doctor Who would be proud of, I haven’t seen them.
So exactly how the RET is costing us $1.6 bill? I confess myself mystified.
Then he goes on to say:
“Look, the problem with the Renewable Energy Target is it’s a very inefficient way of abating carbon.”
Please forgive me, but:
HOW’S THAT, BURCHELL?!……. http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/sochi-and-the-renewable-energy-target,6217
What You Can Do About Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, Energy Collective, February 16, 2014 Anyone who reads the paper knows that the Renewable Energy Target is currently the subject of an inordinate attack. However, when you look at the facts it’s clear that this is completely unwarranted.
The question was put to me “Can you suggest how we in small business can best educate the decision makers about the benefits of the RET? It all seems a bit remote from the man in the street, but the decision will affect us all.”
This statement is right on the money; if you have solar, if work in solar or if you want solar, any change to the RET will affect you. If we add up how many Australians live in homes with solar, work in solar and the general (positive) attitude to solar, it means this decision affects Millions of Australians. I don’t know that our decision makers quite understand this fact. Yet.
Before I get to what to do lets start by understanding what is driving the focus on the RET, by considering it in the broader context of Australia’s most important and current issues………..http://theenergycollective.com/solarbusiness/340196/what-you-can-do-help-save-renewable-energy-target
Learning from history March 1 marks 60 years since the Bravo nuclear test on Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. ICAN Australia From 1946 until 1996, more than 315 nuclear test explosions were conducted in the Pacific Islands by France, Britain and the United States. The Bravo nuclear test of 1954 was the largest ever conducted by the US, yielding a force 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Radioactive fallout travelled across 11,000 square kilometres and many communities in the Pacific still cannot return to their home islands due to radioactive contamination.
ICAN has produced a report entitled Banning Nuclear Weapons: a Pacific Islands Perspective, which was distributed at the recent Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Nayarit, Mexico, and can be downloaded here. Report author Nic Maclellan also has an article here on Inside Story. Speaking of history, for an enthralling piece of poetry performed by Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, click History Project.
The end of the Mexico Conference was nothing short of exhilarating, as the Conference Chair summed up the meeting with this:
“The broad-based and comprehensive discussions on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons should lead to the commitment of States and civil society to reach new international standards and norms, through a legally binding instrument.
It is the view of the Chair that the Nayarit Conference has shown that time has come to initiate a diplomatic process conducive to this goal…
It is time to take action. The 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks is the appropriate milestone to achieve our goal. Nayarit is a point of no return.”
As the dust settles on Mexico, we’re looking forward to a challenging year ahead coaxing the Australian Government onto the right side of history. Get in touch if you want to help us get there.
Now for your post-Conference reading:
- Nuclear Weapons: it’s high time for Australia to be bold and call for a ban - David Donaldson, The Guardian.
- Report from the Nayarit Conference - Ray Acheson, Beatrice Fihn, and Katherine Harrison.
With Australia holding the presidency of the G20 this year, a stance of doing less than our fair share – which the authority says will mean cutting emissions 40 to 60 per cent by 2030 – is unlikely to go unnoticed by world leaders.
Authority’s good advice falls on deaf ears http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/authoritys-good-advice-falls-on-deaf-ears-20140227-33mao.html February 28, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The Abbott government is likely to pay as much heed to the Climate Change Authority’s report on Australia’s carbon emission reduction goals as it did to all the independent body’s previous work: zilch. Continue reading
to The Editor The Advertiser, from Dennis Matthews, 26 Feb 14 It takes a special sort of politician to name a group of candidates after oneself. It is even more bizarre when that politician is not one of those candidates. Yet that is exactly what has happened with three groups in the South Australian Legislative Council election. In two of the cases the politician is not even a South Australian and in the other case the person is already a member of the Federal Upper House.
On top of this there is one group of candidates running under a party name that appears to be based in Canberra and has no information about South Australia or about the state election on its website.
Talk about Rafferty’s rules. At this rate it won’t be long before we have a group running under the name of a non-Australian politician with interests contrary to those of Australia.
Noongar elders emotional as draft native title bill tabled in Parliament. ABC News, By Stephanie Dalzell, 26 FEB 14, ,A draft bill officially recognising the Noongar people as traditional owners of South West land has been tabled in Parliament.
It follows a deal offered in July to resolve a long-running native title dispute.
As it was tabled, 79-year-old Janet Hayden wept.
For her, the bill means a decades-long battle for recognition has finally ended.”It’s a total relief because we’re walking in these doors here, and walking out, and something’s been done,” she said.
Under the $1.3 billion offer, $600 million will be paid into the Noongar Boodja Trust in instalments over 12 years.
Up to 320,000 hectares of Crown land will also be transferred to the trust in multiple parcels, and new programs will be established to assist economic, housing and community development……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-26/draft-noongar-native-title-bill-tabled/5286320
It’s in Australia’s interests not to be left behind in the growth industries of the future – and those include renewable energy.
How to save business billions, without cutting renewable jobs Suzanne Benn Chair in Sustainable Enterprise, UTS Business School at University of Technology, Sydney Patrick Crittenden Researcher and PhD Student at University of Technology, Sydney The Conversation 26 February 2014 The debate about the future of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has largely focused on the issue of immediate costs to business. But if we’re thinking about Australia’s long-term economic interests, there are a number of reasons why leaving the target as it is makes good business sense.
Instead of trying to reduce power bills by undercutting investment and jobs in one growing industry, there are other ways for big and small businesses to cut their power bills – starting with the cost savings available from using energy more efficiently.
Billions in opportunities
A 2012 report for the federal government found that Australian industry could cut its energy use by 11% without adversely affecting business activity, saving A$3.3 billion in the process. Doing so would also cut 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Looking at medium to large industrial businesses across mining, manufacturing and transport, the study found that many of those savings could be made with a payback period of less than two years.
It is important to note that the study also found that there are often multiple barriers in the way of making those investments and savings. But there are plenty of examples of why it’s worth the effort to overcome those barriers, as case studies published last year by the Department of Industry highlight…..The possibility of Australia’s main renewable energy scheme being watered down or scrapped sends a negative message to investors in wind, solar and other renewable generation options. For example, Meridian Energy has already stated it will not invest further in renewable energy in Australia if the RET is scrapped.
Australia needs to build a more innovative industry and manufacturing base for the future, including creating more jobs in nanotechnology and biotechnology. It’s in Australia’s interests not to be left behind in the growth industries of the future – and those include renewable energy. http://theconversation.com/how-to-save-business-billions-without-cutting-renewable-jobs-23528
Michael West: Study shines a light into dark corners of electricity pricingIf Tony Abbott truly wants to achieve lower power prices, he will need to be better advised. He could start by recognising for instance that it is not the carbon tax and renewable energy costs that are primarily responsible for energy price hikes. The culprit is network costs; and it is his own state governments that are making the killing. http://www.theage.com.au/business/study-shines-a-light-into-dark-corners-of-electricity-pricing-20140223-33ah7.html
Carbon credit crunch as federal government takes first step to scrap the tax THE DAILY TELEGRAPH FEBRUARY 24, 2014 THE federal government will today take the first step in scrapping the carbon tax by introducing a surprise regulation to cancel an auction of billions of dollars of carbon credits.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt will block the Clean Energy Regulator from selling any more credits to businesses, which was to be conducted before June this year. In an unexpected move that will take Labor and the Greens by surprise, a regulation signed secretly last week will be tabled in both houses of parliament this morning.
……, the move will also force Labor leader Bill Shorten to side with the Greens in the senate to veto the government……http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/carbon-credit-crunch-as-federal-government-takes-first-step-to-scrap-the-tax/story-fni0xqrc-12268354407
US Secretary of State John Kerry travelled to Jakarta. He delivered a forceful speech on Sunday describing climate change as ”perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction”
Tony Abbott can no longer turn his back on this weapon of mass destruction Peter Hartcher SYDNEY MORNING HERALD POLITICAL AND INTERNATIONAL EDITOR 19 Feb 14 On the same weekend Prime Minister Tony Abbott was touring drought-stricken areas, some of which are suffering once-in-a-century rainlessness, a couple of pretty interesting things happened in the global approach to climate change.
China and the US signed an agreement to address climate change and to work towards a joint platform for global negotiations. Continue reading
Direct action to miss the mark GRAHAM LLOYD THE AUSTRALIAN FEBRUARY 19, 2014 THE Abbott government’s direct action plan would result in greater domestic carbon dioxide emissions savings than Labor’s carbon price, according to new research by carbon advisory firm RepuTex.
The savings were unlikely to be enough, however, to meet Australia’s 5 per cent emissions reductions target by 2020 without significant changes.,,,(Subscribers only) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/direct-action-to-miss-the-mark/story-e6frg6xf-1226830949811#
Renewable energy great solution to void in industry, Pierre Mars SMH, 12 Feb 14 “…Australia has such a nascent industry, renewable energy. Further, once the capital costs are recovered, recurring costs are low: sun, wind, waves and hot rocks are free and abundant in Australia, providing low cost energy as a competitive advantage for future industry.
Unfortunately, the Abbott government’s policies on climate change will strangle this industry at birth so Australia may be importing renewable energy technologies instead of exporting them.: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/smh-letters/renewable-energy-great-solution-to-void-in-industry-20140212-32i8t.html#ixzz2tbjZJeo6