Australian news, and some related international items

South Australia’s Greens leader warns on need for vigilance in preventing import of radioactive trash

greensGreens leader Mark Parnell responds to the Ministerial Statement:

“It’s clear that the Government realises that regardless of the Royal Commission’s finding, they still have a lot of work to do to convince South Australians that we should expand the nuclear industry in SA”.

“We always knew that this campaign would be run over the long term.  While it’s unlikely that we will see legislation this year, we still must remain vigilant.”

February 10, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Have you heard the new joke about Anti Environment Minister Greg Hunt?

Greg Hunt named “best minister in the world”
Australia’s own Greg Hunt has been singled out as the “best minister in the world” by a high-powered international conference.


February 10, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Arrest of climate angels protesting Santos coal seam gas development

Five Climate Angels Arrested For ‘Watching Over’ Santos CSG, New Matilda, By  on February 9, 2016

Five women aged between 50- and 75-years-old have been forcibly dragged from the road and arrested by police this morning at a Santos coal seam gas development near Narrabri, in north west New South Wales.

The protestors are part of the ‘Climate Guardians’, a group of theatrical activists who assume the guise of angles to create awareness of the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Continue reading

February 10, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Queensland’s coal mines running at a loss

One third of Queensland coal mines running at a loss – report
The Queensland Resources Council wants mining companies to pay less royalties and laws to cap council rates following a new industry commissioned report, which shows a third of coal mines are losing money.

Cool response to coal industry pleas for help
Politicians and environmentalists have hit back at the coal industry, after it appealed for government assistance to save jobs.


February 10, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

$3.5m contract for Waterloo Wind Farm expansion in SA goes to Victorian firm Keppel Prince

A Victorian company has been awarded a $3.5 million contract to build turbine towers for a mid-north South Australian wind farm.

February 10, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Malcolm Turnbull – a snake in the grass over renewable energy?

Like Abbott, Turnbull has allowed the terms of the appointed board members of ARENA to expire, meaning that the supposedly independent agency is now governed solely by the secretary of Greg Hunt’s Environment Department. The board of the CCA has been largely replaced by advisers and ex-Coalition MPs sympathetic to the Coalition’s approach to climate change.

Like Abbott, Turnbull is hiding behind a climate policy that he contemptuously dismissed as a “fig leaf”. Despite signing up to the Paris climate agreement and its ambitious target of capping temperatures “well below” 2 degrees, and possibly as low as 1.5 degrees, the Coalition continues a policy plan that assumes temperature gains of 4 degrees.

Turnbull destroys renewables


Parkinson-Report-Was the renewable energy industry better off under Abbott? Giles Parkinson, Crikey, 4 Feb 16 At least under Tony Abbott the renewable sector knew where it stood. But what is going under Turnbull? Under Abbott, the message was clear and unequivocal: we don’t want youwe don’t like the way you look; you’re causing health problems for people; and your technology doesn’t work anyway. Besides, coal is good for humanity.

The message was clear from top to bottom. Abbott and his treasurer found wind turbines to be offensive, his chief business adviser thought climate science was a giant hoax, and the pro-nuclear head of his review into renewable energy said wind and solar were not useful. Junior MPs and ministers proved echo-chambers for the myth-making of anti-wind social media sites. There was never any doubt as to that government’s intentions.

Under the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull, the rhetoric has (mostly) changed; the gratuitous insults and personal prejudice are (largely) gone, although coal is still considered to be good for humanity and to solve hunger. But policy has not changed, and the industry has little to show for the change in leadership.

The Turnbull government has begun 2016 in the same way that the Abbott government started 2014 and 2015 — with legislation on the table that calls for the dismantling of the government’s key agencies: the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Climate Change Authority.

Greens Senator Larissa Waters highlighted the move on her Facebook page on Monday and wondered why. Continue reading

February 5, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

AGL pulls out of CSG plan in Gloucester as NSW and Queensland projects are abandoned

Gas giant AGL has abandoned natural gas projects in Queensland and New South Wales, sparking celebrations in rural NSW where opponents had feared a billion-dollar coal seam gas plan could devastate a community.


February 5, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Massive Adani coal mine halted indefinitely due to poor coal market

Parkinson-Report-Adani puts Galilee coal mine on hold pending recovery in coal price, REneweconomy, By  on 4 February 2016 The Indian mining and energy giant Adani Enterprises appears to have put development of its massive and controversial $16 billion Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin on hold – until coal prices show signs of a solid rebound. Which could be never.

A report from brooking house Axis Capital in India this week quotes Adani management as saying that no capital expenditure is planned by the company for the project until there is “visibility” of a rebound in the coal price.

Given that international coal prices are at record lows, and most analysts predict further falls as the commodity faces increased competition from renewables, and major economies turn away from coal due to environmental and climate impacts, it suggests that Adani accepts that the Galilee Basin may not get developed……

February 5, 2016 Posted by | General News, Queensland | Leave a comment

Adani’s latest approval reveals a disregard for the Great Barrier Reef

Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS): 2 Feb 16:

“The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has today expressed deep concern about the Queensland Government’s environmental approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, which will adversely impact the Great Barrier Reef.

Imogen Zethoven, the Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director said today that the decision demonstrated that the Queensland Government is putting the interests of the coal industry ahead of the interests of the Reef and a sustainable economy.

“The mining and burning of coal is the leading cause of global warming. … “The Queensland economy and the tourism industry rely on a healthy Reef. … “Approving this mine is madness. There’s hardly a profitable coal mine in Queensland. …

“Adani has failed to secure finance. … “Economically, environmentally, rationally or emotionally, there is no choice. The Reef should be here for future generations. And future generations power should come from renewable sources,” said Ms Zethoven. … “

February 5, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Environmental authority for Adani threatens climate and reef

Queensland Conservation Council:
3 Feb 16:

“Queensland Conservation Council today expressed disappointment that the Queensland Government issued an Environmental Authority for the Carmichael coal mine that will be Australia’s largest
coal mine and will cause dangerous greenhouse pollution.

“It seems that the government’s support for the Paris climate talks has melted away at the first test”, said Kirsten Macey,  climate campaigner for the Queensland Conservation Council. “We know that the mining and burning of coal causes dangerous  global warming and this massive mine will wreak havoc on our  climate as well as our reef. 60,000 jobs that depend on the reef are in jeopardy as a result of this decision.” … “

February 5, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

End for mains-only power, with solar energy storage?

The dream of households easily storing energy is being realised in a Sydney home with the first system of its kind in Australia……….. (Subscribers only)

January 28, 2016 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Tony Abbott govt destroyed confidence in Australia’s renewable energy sector

Abbott-destroys-renewablesConfidence in renewable energy sector ‘evaporated’ after Abbott cut: Bloomberg, The Age,  ENVIRONMENT EDITOR, THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD January 14, 2016   Investment in large-scale renewable energy in Australia remains stagnant almost two years after the Abbott government began a review of the sector, according to an annual survey by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Investors spent just $15 million since February 2014 on big wind, solar or other clean energy projects that were not otherwise supported by government programs such as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The Abbott government’s repeal of the carbon tax in July 2014 – which removed long-term price support – and a mishandled review that led ultimately to a cut of about one-fifth in the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) meant “confidence evaporated” in the sector, said Kobad Bhavnagri, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Australia.

“It can’t be understated that the actions of the Abbott government have destroyed confidence in the renewable energy market,” Mr Bhavnagri said. “Lenders in the market are almost all of the view that the political risks in the RET … have made it too risky to invest in.”

The picture is not all gloomy, however, with the capacity of new rooftop solar photovoltaic systems rising in 2015.  Continue reading

January 14, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s hypocrisy about nuclear weapons

pinegap1North Korea hydrogen bomb: Australia has a dangerous double standard when it comes to nuclear weapons The Age, January 7, 2016  Richard Lennane

Our reliance on nuclear deterrence for security only encourages other countries to acquire them. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop wasted no time in joining the chorus of international condemnation of North Korea’s latest nuclear weapon test.

“North Korea’s actions fly in the face of international non-proliferation norms, and challenge the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Bishop said. Certainly, whether or not the weapon really was a hydrogen bomb, the test is a disturbing development that threatens international peace and security. Despite the comically strident claims of the North Korean regime, nobody is made safer by North Korea’s acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.

But behind Bishop’s ready condemnation lies an awkward contradiction. Like North Korea, Australia believes that nuclear weapons really do make it safer. Of course, Australia claims that it supports nuclear disarmament and is working for a world free of nuclear weapons. But our actions say something different: Australia relies on extended nuclear deterrence for its security, has no plans to change that, and has been actively opposing and resisting international steps to stigmatise and prohibit nuclear weapons on humanitarian grounds. Continue reading

January 7, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

“New Matilda” refutes the pro nuclear spin of Geoff Russell

the economics of new nuclear power doesn’t stack up. And we’ve got much more important things to do (like exposing the well-funded lies of some in the fossil fuel industry and planning for a much different and smaller grid), than arguing with well-intentioned but intellectually conceited proponents of nuclear energy

Nuclear And Nonsense: An Insider’s Guide On Making Renewables Work, New Matilda
By Terry Leach  January 4, 2016  
Renewable energy advocate Terry Leach takes up the fight for an inexhaustible power supply.

Geoff Russell’s recent New Matilda article ‘Batteries and Bulldust’ makes the argument that renewable energy can’t displace fossil fuels due to the problems of the intermittency of renewable energy and the difficulty of storing electrical energy.

Russell compares the stupidity of Germany’s renewable push to France’s wisdom in generating most of their power from nuclear. Obviously, the superior governance, cheaper electricity and lack of inefficient subsidies results in France consistently outperforming Germany economically. Sadly for the French this isn’t true. Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe.

Maybe, just maybe, the Germans aren’t ‘puddle shallow thinkers’. Problems of intermittency and storage of renewable energy are solvable, and the Germans are doing just that.

Despite our current government’s opposition, technological development and entrepreneurship means that Australia is well placed to solve those problems here. Continue reading

January 6, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australians at high risk of skin cancer

Is your family playing it safe in the sun?

5th Jan 2016 THE message isn’t new but it is a serious one that needs constant reinforcing.

Summer is a peak time for sunburn and irreversible sun damage and with many out and about on holidays during this time of year it is essential we remember the five S’s:

  • slip on sun-protective clothing,
  • slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen,
  • slap on a brimmed hat,
  • seek shade and
  • slide on sunglasses.

For Aussies (particularly Queenslanders), having the highest rates of melanoma in the world is not something we should be proud of.

We can’t use the excuse that we don’t know about the damage too much unprotected sun exposure causes.

We have been educated with campaigns warning us of the dangers for decades.

Yet about 2000 people in Australia still die from skin cancer each year and two in three Aussies are diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.

These statistics are shocking when you know most skin cancers can be prevented by the use of good sun protection.

Before heading out, check the UV index – a way of describing the daily danger of solar UV radiation intensity – and avoid the peak times.

The higher the UV Index value, the greater the potential for damage to your skin.

The UV Alert in your newspaper shows the time of the day people need to be particularly SunSmart.

Prevention is better than a cure so also have each member of your family’s skin checked regularly.

January 6, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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