Australian news, and some related international items

Across Australia, rallies for climate change action

climate-changeAustralians join global rallies for climate change action ahead of Paris talks ABC News 29 Nov 15 Thousands of Australians have joined a worldwide wave of marches on the eve of United Nations climate change negotiations in Paris, calling for stronger measures to combat global warming.

Events were held today in Sydney, Canberra, Perth and Hobart, as well as regional and rural towns around Australia, joining about 600 other cities in more than 120 countries around the world. Continue reading

November 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Australian govt’s contribution to UN Climate Summit – pro coal video “Coal is Amazing”!

hypocrisy-scaleAustralian Delegation To Present ‘Coal Is Amazing’ Video At Climate Conference   Australia’s contribution to the Paris climate change talks will be a short animated  video explaining the benefits of coal.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he was looking forward to sharing the ‘little gem of a video’ on the conference’s main stage. “The broader global community has a bit of catching up to do when it comes to understanding coal’s amazing qualities. This video will be the talk of the conference I feel,” he said before leaving for Paris.

A Rational Fear – This Little Black Rock is gonna F you Up!

[Oh dear, I think I might have put up the wrong video – what  a shame!]

Mr Hunt said the little black rock provided endless possibilities. “It can provide light. And jobs,” he said, holding up a piece of coal for reporters to see.

Following Australia’s presentation, delegates will receive a take-home bag containing a genuine piece of Australian coal. “It’s a little memento to remember the Aussies by,” Mr Hunt said.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Minerals Council of Australia’s deceptive video promoting coal industry

clean-coal.The campaign claims that low-emission coal-fired power plants and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is “now a reality” and are slashing emissions.

However, there is only one CCS-enabled plant operational in the world, in Canada. In Australia, there is just one CCS project aimed at coal emissions in the pipeline, which may arrive at some point in the 2020s.

Coal is a dangerous little black rock. Every climate scientist and almost every politician in the world knows that coal is very polluting and very dangerous. The only people who don’t get that are the Minerals Council and our government.

Mining industry’s new ‘coal is amazing’ TV ad labelled desperate, Guardian,   , @olliemilman,6 Sept 15 

 The Minerals Council of Australia’s new TV ad claims the coalmining industry provides $40bn a year to Australia’s economy. Video: Minerals Council of Australia 

Green groups criticise ‘ludicrous’ Minerals Council of Australia ad which claims coal creates ‘light and jobs’ and ‘can now reduce its emissions by up to 40%’

The Minerals Council of Australia’s new TV ad claims the coalmining industry provides $40bn a year to Australia’s economy.

Australia’s mining industry has launched a new ode to coal in the form of a major advertising campaign that hails the mineral’s ability to “create light and jobs”, as well as claiming that new technology will drastically slash its emissions. The campaign, called Little Black Rock , has been launched by the Minerals Council of Australia. An eye-catching TV ad shows an extreme closeup of the contours of a lump of coal, as if it were the surface of a rugged, distant planet.

A voiceover explains the “endless possibilities” of coal, Continue reading

November 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Sydney: huge climate rally shows support for Pacific islanders

climate-changeHuge crowds march in Sydney climate rally, Herald Sun, November 29, 2015
  Thousands of protesters have marched through Sydney CBD to the Opera House to rally for action on climate change ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Paris.

The giant costumed figures of Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott greeted scientists, activists, families, elderly and youth that gathered at the Domain on Sunday to urge leaders to shift more rapidly to renewable energy and cut carbon emissions worldwide.

People have waved placards to the sound of drums while others have broken into dance and worn costumes of marine life that would be affected by increasing global temperatures.

“Minds change or climate change” read one placard, while another said “there is no Planet B”.

Climate Council’s Professor Tim Flannery addressed the crowd before they marched, saying a successful outcome at the UN summit was vital. “Do your utmost to see success at Paris, we won’t accept anything less,” he said to the cheers of the crowd, which he described as “the biggest climate march” in Australia’s history.

The rally observed a minute’s silence to acknowledge those most affected by climate change, especially Australia’s neighbours in the Pacific.

Earlier, deputy federal Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said the government had to take action now before the cost of reducing emissions increased.”The sooner we start making cuts to our carbon pollution, the cheaper it’ll be to get there,” she told reporters in Sydney just before the rally.

 “Climate change is not a distant future threat for our Pacific neighbours, it is happening right now.”……

Sydney march organiser Reece Proudfoot said those taking part in the Australian marches walked in solidarity with millions of people across the world as part of a global campaign. Mr Proudfoot welcomed Labor’s pledge on Friday to cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, which is well above the coalition pledge of between 26 and 28 per cent.

More than 40,000 people marched in Melbourne’s central business district on Friday to kick off the weekend of climate marches, with dozens of events also taking place in regional towns across the country.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Canberra residents in their thousands march for climate action

climate-changeThousands gather in ACT for climate march  November 29, 2015 Thousands of Canberrans have joined a worldwide protest by marching to support action on climate change.

They gathered on the front lawn of parliament house, a broad cross-section of people from Labor and the Greens to the fireman’s union, bee keepers, the Grim Reaper and Tibetan cows – pantomime-style cows that is.

 “We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” was the chant as the march – estimated by organisers to be as many as 6000 people – set off.

Federal Labor ACT MP Gai Brotmann said people were sending a strong message to the Turnbull government. “Action is required on climate, credible action and direction action is not that,” Ms Brotmann told AAP.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | ACT, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Yet another delay in radioactive cleanup of Sydney’s Hunter’s Hill

text ionisingResidents appalled as radioactive clean-up of Sydney street delayed another four years   State Politics Editor, The Sun-Herald

The clean-up of radioactive waste from a residential street in Hunters Hill has been delayed for another four years, as the cost has almost doubled.

The Baird government was ordered by the Environment Protection Authority last November to submit a plan to remove toxic waste from six properties on Nelson Parade after a decade of delay and political paralysis.

The clean-up was to begin within 90 days of the plan being approved.

But Government Property NSW’s annual report has revealed the remediation work won’t be undertaken until 2016-17, and won’t be complete until 2018-19.

Remediation costs have blown out from $12.4 million to $22.5 million “mainly as a result of changes in the final waste disposal location”.

Philippa Clarke, of the Nelson Parade Action Group, said a delay until 2018 was “appalling”. Continue reading

November 30, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Bathurst – oldest inland city – No to ‘newest nuclear waste dump’ !

Protest-No!Bathurst business group concerned about nuclear dump proposal By Gavin Coote A Bathurst business group says it is unconvinced of the economic benefits being touted for a shortlisted nuclear waste site in the district.

Dozens of people packed a hall in Hill End yesterday to hear about the Federal Government’s proposal to store the material at nearby Sallys Flat.

The Bathurst Business Chamber says the $10 million sweetener on offer to the selected community would not offset the potential economic losses.

The president Stacey Whittaker said there could be ramifications for the local tourism and agriculture sectors if the proposal went ahead. “I don’t think it’s bringing anything positive to the region,” Ms Whittaker said. “We’ve got a lot of small businesses by way of farming out in the that area which I think are certainly more important and have put more back into the community and the area than a nuclear waste dump will ever do.”

Sallys Flat is one of six sites shortlisted for the facility, and government officials have told the forum it would not pose a safety threat.

Ms Whittaker said the stigma surrounding nuclear waste could draw unnecessary negativity to the area. “Certainly from the local business side of things in town itself of Bathurst, people are a bit concerned.

“You know Bathurst, oldest inland city in Australia and first nuclear waste dump. “That’s not a real good title, is it?”

November 30, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

United Nations call on Australia to produce a consistent climate policy, not ‘mixed messages’

flag-UN.Map Turnbull climateUN calls for consistent climate policy from Australia   Australia needs to be more consistent on climate change after mixed messages under recent governments, a senior UN official says. Australia must be more consistent on climate change after a series of erratic policy changes, a senior United Nations environment program official says.

Kaveh Zahedi, the UN’s Environment Program (UNEP) Asia Pacific representative, says Australia’s climate policies have failed to reflect wider community concerns over climate change.

“It seems we are getting mixed messages (on climate change policy),” Zahedi told AAP.

Zahedi’s comments come ahead of next week’s Paris summit on climate change, which is aimed at forging an agreement to cut greenhouse emissions, and limiting global warming to 2C.

Policy measures to deal with climate change have included a carbon tax introduced by the former Labor government, which was later repealed by the coalition under Tony Abbott.

Zahedi said Australia needed to bring policy certainty to the Paris negotiating table next week.

He hoped the underlying message from the Paris summit would be clear and “override some of the mixed messages that might or might not exist at the national level”.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Queensland govt plans to extinguish Native Title for Adani’s coal mine

exclamation-Wangan & Jagalingou People: 
Qld Government Plans to Extinguish Native Title for Adani’s Coal Mine A New Low in Violating Traditional Owners Rights

27 Nov 15:

“‘Not here, not now, not this time’ say Traditional Owners

Adrian Burragubba, senior spokesperson of the
Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners’ Council, 
has strongly condemned plans by Queensland’s Coordinator General Barry Broe, under the imprimatur of Minister for Mines Anthony Lynham, to extinguish native title on parts  of the W&J’s traditional lands in the Galilee Basin in order to enable Indian giant Adani to develop infrastructure for its $16.5bn Carmichael coal mine, the biggest in Australian history.
The plans were revealed in documents obtained by the ABC. Mr Burragubba said, “It is beyond comprehension that the Government would consider such a shameful and absurd proposal in an era when our rights are sanctioned under international law; and when we are already in the Federal
Court contesting the State Government and Adani’s attempts to override our rights.”
“Premier Palaszczuk needs to rule out this outrageous proposal immediately”, Mr Burragubba said. “I assure the Premier she will be bringing on one of the biggest human rights battles we’ve seen in Queensland in a long time. If destroying our rights and handing our lands to a foreign
mining company is on her agenda, she better think again.” … “

November 30, 2015 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Huge Melbourne rally kicks off Australia’s marches for climate action

climate Melbourne 15

Thousands gather at Melbourne CBD rally ahead of Paris climate summit, The Age, [excellent photos and video] November 27, 2015 -Chloe Booker, Timna Jacks, With Tom Cowie and AAP

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Melbourne’s CBD to demand world leaders take strong action to protect the planet at the Paris climate change conference.

The so-called People’s Climate March was one of hundreds of rallies being held around the world in the lead up to the crucial meeting. Members of The Cat Empire performed for the crowd, which included Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Greens Senator Richard Di Natale.

 Organiser Victoria McKenzie-McHarg estimated the crowd was at least 60,000 strong. “This absolutely is the largest climate change rally we have ever seen in Australian history,” she said to cheers from the crowd.  Chanting “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now”, the demonstrators marched from the State Library to Parliament House.

A sea of placards stretched down Bourke Street from Spring Street to Swanston Street and along Swanston Street from Bourke Street to La Trobe Street. There was a stand-off between banked-up traffic and protesters at Exhibition Street as frustrated drivers honked their horns and the crowd erupted in cheers and shouts.

Stunned diners observed the march from outside Bourke Street cafes, and some heckled the demonstrators. Sections of the crowd were more like a party, with some dancing and clapping to a marching band dressed in green-glittered uniforms, while others swayed to the strumming of a guitar. ……..

Andy Parsons, an Environment Victoria volunteer who attended both rallies, said environmentalists supported the right of Aboriginal people to live independently.”The Aboriginal people lived sustainably for thousands of years. Us white people could learn a lot from them,” he said.

Aboriginal man Robbie Thorpe said he saw a parallel between the “genocide” of his people and what he called the  “ecocide” of Australia’s natural environment. “We are the custodians of the land and the language. Only we know how to talk to our land. Without the Aboriginal people the land can’t survive and without the land, we can’t survive.”

November 27, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

Australia’s sorry history of deception about action on climate change

Australia is not the only country to have tried to use international rules to its domestic advantage. But Australia’s history of special deals now raises some big domestic policy questions.

the accounting rules may not come to our rescue another time. It is not clear whether we will be able to “carry over” again, although Hunt has indicated we would like to. But the task is now also bigger than any “carry over” could massage.

After decades of fighting and fudging, Australia will have to really do something about its greenhouse emissions this time

Turnbull climate 2 facedWelcome to the wonderful world of climate talks, where less means more, Hunt-direct-actionGuardian 
Lenore Taylor, 27 Nov 
The maths doesn’t add up – Australia’s emissions are trending up and yet we are meeting pledges to cut them. But it all makes sense in the complicated and chaotic world of climate negotiations  T
he numbers look clear. In 1990, Australia emitted 564m tonnes of carbon dioxide. In 2005 that rose to 611m. By 2014-15 that had fallen a bit to 565m. But in 2029-30, the latest published projections say we will emit 724m tonnes.

They have gone up and down and they might not be rising by as much as if we’d never heard the words “climate change”, but in absolute terms our greenhouse emissions are trending up, not down.

And yet over those same decades we will have solemnly given three different national pledges to reduce our emissions and, as the environment minister, Greg Hunt, keeps enthusiastically reminding us, in every case we will “meet and beat” our pledges.

How can it be possible for national emissions to rise over 30 years while a country “meets and beats” successive promises to reduce them? The answer takes us first deep into the complicated and chaotic world of international climate negotiations and then to the dizzying heights of political spin. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

For Australia, Paris is a starting point for climate action, not the end game.

logo Paris climate1Paris offers a chance at a different story. Ambitions are more modest, and more realistic. No one is expecting the agreement to comprehensively achieve the 2-degree target. In fact, documents already released suggest it would allow temperatures to rise at least 2.7 degrees.

Success at Paris will be more subtle. It will be measured by whether incremental steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions continue to be seen as a priority for the world, long after the excitement of the conference has passed away.

It will be the intangible measure of how the world’s attitude on climate change has shifted.

Don’t rely on grand treaties from the Paris climate summit’t-rely-on-grand-treaties-from-paris/6979176

By Sara Phillips If we want to avoid the disappointment we felt after the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, we need to accept that the Paris meeting next week won’t be about signing some grand treaty, but about keeping up momentum for change, writes Sara Phillips.

Calm your farm, Greenies. Paris is an amazing city, but the United Nations conference on climate change to be held next week is not going to save the world. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina themes, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

New report rules out nuclear power for Australia, on economic grounds

nuclear-costs1Nuclear priced out of Australia’s future energy highly-recommendedequation in new report By  on 26 November 2015

Australia’s official economic forecaster has finally admitted that the cost of nuclear energy is more than double other clean energy alternatives, suggesting it would likely play no role in a decarbonised grid based around lowest costs.

The Australian Power Generation Technology Report – a 362-page collaborative effort from more than 40 organisations, including the CSIRO, ARENA, the federal government’s Department of Industry and Science and the Office of the Chief Economist – clearly shows that solar and wind will be the cheapest low carbon technologies in Australia.

It comes at a critical time, with the nuclear lobby, supported by existing coal generators, pushing nuclear generation heavily, on the basis of previous technology cost assessments that had unrealistically optimistic views of its costs.

But the APGT report has essentially ruled out nuclear power for the whole of Australia, revealing that the technology is becoming more and more prohibitively expensive, at around double the capital cost estimated three years ago – and double the cost of competing technologies. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics | Leave a comment

Firefighters will march for climate action: global warming increases their dangers

firefighters for  climate actionIdeology aside, firefighters find themselves at the front line of climate impacts, and we are well aware that something is going on and conditions are gradually worsening. Of course climate change is not the only factor making firefighters’ work more and more challenging, but there’s no question that increasing temperatures and increasing drought conditions are a big part of the problem.

the United Firefighters Union will join with tens of thousands of Australians this weekend at the People’s Climate Marches taking place all over Australia.

More dangerous bushfires in our future if we don’t take action on climate change  November 26, 2015 Peter Marshall and Victoria McKenzie-McHarg There are no climate change sceptics at the end of a fire hose.

Australia’s firefighters know from first-hand experience that climate change has led to more frequent and more intense fires. It has also made our fire seasons longer.

Every day, firefighters go into situations as others flee in the opposite direction. Firefighters’ jobs are already dangerous. But we are increasingly concerned that changing climate conditions are increasing this danger.

firefighters Queensland

This summer is on track to be one of the worst on record for fires. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rates it as a 97 per cent chance that 2015 will be the hottest year on record – and it looks like it will be the hottest by quite a wide margin. Continue reading

November 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel report – boost renewables, No to nuclear

map solar south-australiaLow Carbon Economy Expert Panel report recommends South Australia move quickly to 100 per cent green energy productionSheradyn Holderhead Political Reporter The Advertiser November 25, 2015 SOUTH Australia should produce 100 per cent green energy “relatively quickly” using a mix of solar, wind and other sources but not a nuclear power station, a report recommends.

On releasing the Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel report today, Premier Jay Weatherill said the State Government would adopt a target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

But Mr Weatherill is yet to map out exactly how the state will reach that target, as the Government is still to respond to more detailed recommendations in the report.

They include:

SET a goal of 100 per cent renewable electricity within, a timeframe to be decided, that could be done relatively quickly, capitalising on the abundance of solar, wind, oceanic, geothermal and bioenergy resources.

EXPAND the state’s renewable energy generation to the point where a significant amount is exported interstate.

DEVELOP and manufacture cost-effective energy storage technology, which is critical for a stable renewable electricity supply and could also become a new industry for the state.

SIGN the Under 2 memorandum of understanding, making SA a part of the growing group of sub-national governments making a commitment to contribute to limiting global warming to 2°C.

CONSIDER implementing a state-based emissions trading scheme linked to California’s ETS, which could be politically and economically attractive to California and provide significant benefits for SA.

INTEGRATE curriculum in schools, universities and TAFE colleges about carbon pollution, green energy and related technologies.

The report also noted that nuclear power stations generally need to be of a certain size to be cost effective and should not be considered for use in smaller states such as SA.

Former Federal Liberal leader John Hewson headed the panel, which also included Anna Skarbek of ClimateWorks and Australian National University’s Frank Jotzo……

November 27, 2015 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment


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