Australian news, and some related international items

Coming refugee crisis as sea levels rise on Pacific Islands

antnuke-relevantFiji PM Warns Of Syria-Style Refugee Crisis If Rich Nations Don’t Do More On Climate, Thom Mitchell,  New Matilda, 2 Oct 15  Frank Bainimarama has taken aim at advanced nations for ignoring the plight of Pacific Islanders in pursuit of short-term economic growth. Thom Mitchell reports.

The Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has hit out at developing nations for their “unacceptable” progress in reducing carbon emissions as part of a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, in which he warned of a humanitarian refugee crisis on the scale of the current migration out of Syria if more is not done.

The talks come as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop seeks a place for Australia on the UN Security and Human Rights Councils, but Bainimarama warned that developed nations like Australia are not listening to the voice of Pacific Island nations, whose human rights are threatened by rising seas and hostile weather patterns.
Kiribati 15
“It is simply not acceptable for advanced economies to build a high standard of living on the degradation of the earth and the seas,” Bainimarama said.

The choices we face may be politically difficult in the short run, but the consequences we are already seeing – environmental degradation, unbearable heat, drought, powerful tropical storms and unpredictable weather patterns – are simply unacceptable,” he said.

“[Fiji] plans to move some 45 villages to higher ground, and we have already started.

“We have committed to resettle people from other low-lying, South Pacific Island States that face the prospect of being swallowed up by the rising ocean and falling inexorably to oblivion.

“Should that happen, the people of those Island States would be refugees as desperate and lost as the hundreds of thousands fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq,” he said.

As New Matilda reported in June, experts in migration law, like those at the University of New South Wales’Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, are already warning that the “disasters on steroids” climate change will bring is likely to create a need for special refugee visas.

It is clear by now that international pledges nations have made through the United Nations climate change process will not be enough to keep the global rise in temperature to less than two degrees, which is the level accepted as ‘safe’ by Australia and around 200 other nations:

October 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Australia’s uranium industry looks to Paris Climate Conference to save it

a-cat-CANRead between the lines, as BHP makes some of  the right noises about climate change, in its oh so worthy portfolio analysis of climate change. BHP warns about the need for action and supports carbon pricing.  It says it supports renewable energy, and does indeed support carbon capture and storage. 

BHP says little about uranium – but I suspect that this is the main game.

However, it is interesting that BHP makes a quite revolutionary statement, for a nuclear company, in for the first time, publicly acknowledging that the next nuclear disaster might be a damaging blow to the industry.

Perth Now reported, Oct 1 : 

“Mining giant BHP Billiton said this week it expected uranium would be the biggest winner in its portfolio, as the world comes under pressure to cut carbon emissions and limit global warming to two degrees celsius.

Australia holds the largest share of uranium resources globally. The ongoing South Australian royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle is an important opportunity for Australia to review its contribution towards development of nuclear power, Dr Guthrie told mining industry executives in Sydney.”

BHP released a Climate Change portfolio analysis
“In a 2°C world, we believe there is a likelihood of upside for uranium, high-quality metallurgical coal and iron ore.”
“We are investing in the development of low-emissions technologies and supporting market mechanisms that provide financial incentives for emissions reductions and sustainable development. ….”
” a more diverse energy supply mix prevails, with significantly increased use of nuclear energy and renewables”
“Critical uncertainties impacting demand for BHP Billiton’s commodities in a 2°C world:

October 2, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Western Australian Wiluna uranium project in the doldrums for the forseeable future

thumbs-downWA’s first uranium mine likely to be delayed as Toro Energy puts Wiluna on hold WESTERN Australia’s first new uranium mine is likely to be delayed due to the ongoing downturn in demand and prices, Perth Now, 1 Oct 15 

Toro Energy has put its Wiluna uranium project on hold as it waits for market conditions to improve. The company began drilling at the project in 2014 and had expected to start operations in 2017.

“We will get to build Wiluna when we get the price that makes Wiluna economic. We are not seeing that price today,” managing director Vanessa Guthrie told AAP.

Wiluna, 960 kilometres northeast of Perth, is the first new uranium mine in WA to receive federal Guthrie poisoned-chalice-3government approval since the lifting of a ban on uranium mining in 2008.

The project will require prices between $60 and $70 a pound to make money, Dr Guthrie said.

Long term uranium prices currently hover around $45 per pound, almost half the levels of five years ago. Prices are expected to dip further because of large stockpiles……..

Global uranium production has stalled in the past two years as depressed uranium prices have curtailed exploration activities and the opening of new mines……

October 1, 2015 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Report shows opportunity for clean energy jobs worth $370 bn

Australian clean energy jobs could be worth $370 bn in 10 years   By  on 29 September 2015 Australia’s renewable energy industry could generate $370 billion worth of jobs over the next 10 years using current technology, a new report has found. The report, released on Tuesday by Beyond Zero Emissions, aims to illustrate how Australia can transition from coal-fired power to renewables, shifting the economy along with it.

“Our research with Melbourne University into energy generation in Australia shows that we can create $370 billion of green energy jobs with current technology, instead of using coal-fired power stations,” said Beyond Zero Emissions CEO Stephen Bygrave.


When you add to this smart homes and buildings, as well as low-carbon land use, high speed rail and electric vehicle options, the green jobs climb towards $1 trillion dollars in value, Dr Bygrave says.

The report’s findings coincide with a new policy proposal from the Greens that calls for a levy to be imposed on coal mining companies to help pay for the transition away from fossil fuels, including for the rehabilitation of retired mines and retraining workers for clean energy jobs.

BZE is also set to launch a new book on October 2, at the Smart Future Cities Conference showing how easily existing Australian homes can be retrofitted to eliminate electricity and gas bills – a follow-up to its Zero Carbon Australia Buildings Plan, that was researched over 3 years.

“The Buildings Plan showed that all residential and commercial buildings in Australia could be converted to generate as much energy as they consumed, creating $270 billion of green jobs in the construction industry,” Bygrave said.

“The new book, The Energy Freedom Home, shows how every home can produce more energy than it consumes. And with rising electricity and gas prices and falling rooftop solar prices, Australian households can affordably revolutionise the way they power their homes.

“Our research shows that millions of ordinary Australian homes can be transformed to be high performing, comfortable and cheaper to run. The transformation is easy since 1.4 million homes already have rooftop solar.”

To illustrate their theory, BZE along with the University of Newcastle have retrofitted a brick veneer family home in North Lambton, Newcastle, that was originally built in 2000.

The retrofits, which began in 2009 and are based on the guidelines provided by the Energy Freedom Home program now save the household $1,200 a year on power bills, with credits during the year. By 2013 the house was transformed into a comfortable, passive solar house, generating more energy from the PV system in the year than it uses.

“We removed the gas systems for health, safety and cost reasons, and have found we use less energy now than when we had both electricity and gas,” said the house’s owner, who monitors it for energy, water, temperature and humidity.

As part of the Smart Future Cities conference, the home in North Lambton will be open on 10am and at 10:30am on Saturday 3rd October for free limited tours.

October 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, employment, energy | Leave a comment

Australian govt to promote battery storage, through ARENA and CEFC

Parkinson-Report-Coalition to accelerate battery storage in Australian households. By  on 1 October 2015

The Australian government has announced that it wants to accelerate the deployment of battery storage in Australian households, chiefly as a means to reduce huge peaks in demand and reduce costs for consumers, but also to cut emissions.

Environment minister Greg Hunt says he wants the two institutions that have been brought within his department – the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) – to bring forward the widespread deployment of battery storage. “Australia has the highest rate of household solar in the world,” Hunt said in emailed comments toRenewEconomy. “This makes Australia an ideal place to develop storage and battery technology.”

Indeed, the battery storage market in Australia is widely tipped to take off in the next year. One of the triggers will be the arrival of the first Tesla Powerwall products in Australia in the next two months, although other international manufacturers such as Panasonic, LG, and Kokam already have products in the market.

Next week, Enphase will launch its “plug and play” battery storage product into Australia. Like Tesla, Enphase is targeting Australia because of the unique nature of its markets – high electricity prices driven by soaring grid costs, particularly to meet “peak” demand, the world’s biggest penetration of rooftop solar, and lots of sun. Continue reading

October 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, storage | Leave a comment

Nuclear Lobby Targets Australia with its lies about Radiation – theme for October 15

The nuclear industry is desperate to get itself recognised at the Paris climate talks as a beneficial ‘low carbon’ technology.

Simultaneously, the nuclear lobby is desperate to promote its shonky South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission.

Lie No.2  is their story that low dose ionising radiation is harmless, even good for you.Hormesis (LieNo. 1 was that ‘new nuclear’ solves the radioactive trash  problem – that lie addressed here  in September) . They dismiss the message of the World Health Organisation that there is no safe level of ionising radiation.   They promote the quack theory of ‘radiation hormesis”, and confuse the public with completely inaccurate comparisons with Potassium K in bananas (an extremely lower radiation intensity than Cesium 137, strontium 90 etc from nuclear fission).

The nuclear lobby’s lies on radiation  are promoted  by Australian nuclear lobbyists such as  Barry Brook, Ben Heard, Oscar Archer.



September 30, 2015 Posted by | Christina themes, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby aiming to overturn an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act ban

The first target of the lobbying push is to overturn an Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act ban on the nuclear development process.

Jim Green, an anti-nuclear campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said it was unlikely that nuclear would ever be feasible in Australia. “We don’t need a bridge from fossil fuels to renewables, we just need renewables. It’s viable and affordable. There is a lot of rhetoric around a nuclear renaissance, but not much else.”

nuke-spruikersSmNuclear industry to push for Australia to adopt ‘clean, affordable power’
Australian Nuclear Association plans to lobby Turnbull government to embrace the technology ‘to create jobs and economic opportunity’
  , Guardian, 29 Sept 15 The nuclear industry will lobby for nuclear energy in Australia, saying the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, should embrace the technology as a way to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian Nuclear Association (ANA) will accompany Danny Roderick, chief executive of the leading US nuclear technology firm Westinghouse, to talk to government ministers and business leaders in Canberra and Sydney next week.

Roderick said nuclear power could help produce “clean, reliable, affordable electricity for more people”.
“We’d like to help Australia explore ways to create jobs and economic opportunity that are also good for the environment,” he said. South Australia’s nuclear inquiry is ‘a gale of commonsense’, Tony Abbott says

The ANA is optimistic that the change in Australia’s prime ministership will mean nuclear will be looked at “on its merits”.

The move is the latest attempt to overturn legal obstacles to nuclear energy generation in Australia.

Federal environmental law bans building nuclear reactors, and an attempt by the Family First senator, Bob Day, to scrap a separate law that blocks building reactors and uranium enrichment plants was halted in August by the Tony Abbott government……..

The ANA says nuclear is a better option to cut emissions from electricity than renewable sources such as solar and wind…….

Parker denied that nuclear was prohibitively expensive, estimating that Australia could build 29 reactors for $160bn with companies such as Westinghouse “lining up” to invest.

He also claimed “strong community support” for nuclear despite the Fukishima disaster in Japan…… Continue reading

September 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

At least Turnbull is getting rid of Maurice Newman as govt adviser

Climate sceptic Maurice Newman not reappointed as government adviser, Guardian
Newman, whose term as chairman of PM’s business advisory council has expired, repeatedly questioned climate science in columns for the Australian 
 29 Sept 15 Outspoken climate sceptic Maurice Newman’s term as chairman of the prime minister’s business advisory council expired last week and he has not been reappointed, a spokesman for prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed.


Former prime minister Tony Abbott appointed Newman as one of his first acts after winning government in 2013.

Newman has used a weekly column in the Australian to expound private views on climate change, including that the world was ill-prepared for a period of global cooling and that the United Nations was using debunked climate science to impose a new world order under its own control.

He also called for a government-funded review of the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to “dispel suspicions of a warming bias” in its temperature record-keeping, something freedom of information documents have recently revealed was under consideration by the prime minister’s department.

Turnbull’s spokesman said the new prime minister, who has strong personal links to the business community, was still considering whether he needed a formal business advisory council. He said Newman had not been reappointed.

The two-year terms of the other 11 members of the council expire in December because they were appointed by Abbott after he had named the chairman…….

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

Australia’s Resources Minister Josh Frydenberg will help Adani’s coal mine with tax-payer money

exclamation-Frydenberg signals $5 billion taxpayer frolic with Adani’s unwanted fossil flop,8193

 Sophie Vorrath 24 September 2015, In a shock interview yesterday, the Turnbull Government’s new energy and resources minister, Josh Frydenberg, signalled that taxpayers would be stumping up funds for Adani’s unpopular Carmichael coal mine.Renew Economy’s Sophie Vorrath reports.

IF AUSTRALIA’s new Prime Minister and refreshed front bench are showing signs of being more progressive about renewable energy investment and R&D, it looks like they are also going to be far more candid about coal, and their plans to invest heavily there, too.

In an interview with Fairfax media on Wednesday, the newly sworn in energy and resources minister Josh Frydenberg was crystal clear on the government’s intent to use taxpayer money from its $5 billion Northern Infrastructure Fund to help get the Adani-owned Carmichael coal mining project off the ground.

And he was equally clear that the Turnbull Government’s attitude to developing new coal projects – despite the smart money being on all untapped fossil fuel resources staying in the ground, and despite the fact that most banks and institutional investors won’t touch the Galilee Basin project with a 10 foot barge pole – remains the same as the Abbott Government’s. Frydenberg told the AFR, repeating the mantra of his former boss:

[Carmichael coal mine is] a very important project, which will see significant investment in Australia and provide electricity to millions of people in the developing world,”

Anti-development activism can create major delays in projects and send investment offshore, and you have to be very conscious of that when there are such large time frames involved and we are competing internationally for investment in this country.

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

AUDIO: Australia world top in household solar panel installations

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Australia leads world in household solar panel installations, ABC RadioThe World Today By Samantha Donovan Australia has the highest rate of household solar panel installation in the world, according to a new report from the Energy Supply Association of Australia.

“We’re clearly leading the world in rooftop solar,” said the association’s chief executive, Matthew text-people-power-solarWarren.

“There’s literally daylight [coming in] second.”

The report found about 15 per cent of Australian homes had solar panels………Installation rates are highest in South Australia and Queensland, and in some Brisbane and Adelaide suburbs more than half of all homes have solar panels.

Mr Warren attributed that to more generous schemes in those states.

“South Australia has 25 per cent of dwellings, which is the highest in the world, and Brisbane’s not far behind with 23 per cent, and then Perth and WA at 18 per cent.”

Media player: “Space” to play, “M” to mute, “left” and “right” to seek.

But the report found lower rates of solar panel installation in affluent suburbs. “It’s very popular with retirees,” Mr Warren said. “It’s more popular with mortgage-belt consumers who are probably more price conscious. “It hasn’t been in the trendy inner-city suburbs. There’s not much roof space and there are more renters, but it just hasn’t appealed to that demographic.”

Australia lags with large-scale solar projects

While Australians are taking to small-scale solar projects enthusiastically, the report found large-scale solar projects are less common than in other countries……..

September 30, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Australia’s PM Turnbull under firm control of right wing on climate change

Liberal-policy-1Liberal right wing’s climate warning to Malcolm Turnbull: don’t touch Direct Action, The Age,  September 25, 2015 Mark Kenny and Philip Wen Malcolm Turnbull has been warned by his party’s right wing not to attempt changes to beef up the Abbott government’s Direct Action program in response to China’s introduction of an economy-wide emissions trading scheme by 2017.

West Australian Liberal Dennis Jensen welcomed the assurances Hunt-Greg-climateof Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who said Australia would not be altering its climate change abatement measures in response to the Chinese development.

But asked if the party’s right still had concerns about what Mr Turnbull might do, Dr Jensen said, “absolutely”.

“It’s one of the conditions of the leadership change that we are sticking with the policy we had,” he told Fairfax Media………

While Mr Turnbull declined to comment, Mr Hunt was sent out to reassure nervous Liberals that the development out of Beijing would not lead to a similar move from Canberra.

September 26, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Canberra school Amaroo to get benefits from ACT’s largest rooftop solar system

sunAmaroo School to gleam under ACT’s largest rooftop solar system, Canberra Times, September 25, 2015   Canberra Times reporter Amaroo School will gleam beneath the territory’s largest rooftop solar system when school returns next term. Almost 2000 large solar panels will be installed across the school’s buildings, producing 600kW of power to be fed into the ACT electricity grid.

The school is leasing its roof space to solar energy company Solar Choice and will power the equivalent of about 175 Canberra houses each year. The 20-year lease will also generate $30,000 a year in school funding.

Solar Choice managing director Angus Gemmell said a team of 30 contractors would install the panels over the next fortnight while students were on school holidays, before solar inverters were installed the week after.

Mr Gemmell, who will soon oversee construction of the Majura Valley solar farm, said the school’s utility-scale panels would be about 25 per cent bigger than the panels installed on regular houses.

“We have large skillion, north-facing roofs that are much like a ski slope to the north. The panels can be perfectly flush-mounted, they won’t need tilt fronts,” he said………

the installation was part of a broader rollout of solar technology in the territory, which had seen rooftop solar capacity jump from less than one megawatt in early 2009 to about 45 megawatts today.

“As we head to a 90 per cent renewable energy target, rooftop solar is going to play an increasingly important role,” he said.”Medium and large-scale rooftop solar is the growth market now for PV [solar power] in Australia and I’m very excited to see Amaroo sharing in those benefits.”

Amaroo School principal Julie Cooper said the school, which is also home to a wind turbine, would make the most of the money injected into the school via the roof space lease.

September 26, 2015 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s govt slow to re-register Aboriginal sacred sites

Aboriginal-protest-remote-WWA Government ‘dragging feet’ over sacred site registration: Indigenous group, ABC News 25 Sep 15 By Kathryn Diss An Aboriginal heritage group has accused the State Government of dragging its feet on reinstating several sacred sites it deregistered over the past year.

Several culturally significant sites around WA have had their protection withdrawn on the basis they no longer fit the definition of a sacred site.

Guidelines issued by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs stated that to be a recognised sacred site, a place needed to have been devoted to religious use rather than simply mythological stories, songs or beliefs.

But in a test case in April challenging the Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee’s (ACMC) deregistration of a site in Port Hedland, the Supreme Court quashed the decision to remove it from the protected list.

Dr Stephen Bennetts from the Aboriginal Heritage Action Alliance said it had been months since the ruling was handed down and the government had not yet reinstated the other sites.

Dr Bennetts said he is concerned the sites could be damaged if they were not adequately protected. “It is quite possible some of those may have already been damaged,” he said.

Dr Bennetts said it was a scandal none of the custodians of the deregistered sites had been notified of the court’s decision.

“Because we know the reasoning the ACMC deregistered them in the first place was to make it easier for developers to get their approvals that was the exact reason,” he said………..

September 26, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

We do not want nuclear anything on our Land – Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Law and Culture

APY LAW & CULTURE – CONCERNS FOR NUCLEAR WASTE, Coober Pedy Regional Times, 24 Sept 15,  Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Law and Culture is declaring its intention to move away from the APY Administration. For a long time our committee has been worried about the direction the APY Administration is taking.

On several occasions we have been told Law and Culture is a side committee, that it is second to the APY.

Law and Culture comes first. It always has. The administration needs to understand this. All Anangu know that our Law and Culture comes first, our Law and Culture must be at the heart of decision making. We have decided to stand alone. Our Law and Culture will come first. Our lives depend on it. We will source alternate funding.

One of our big concerns is the Royal Commission into Nuclear Energy. Law and Culture says no to APY Lands being used to mine uranium or dump the waste.

We won’t be silenced on this. We won’t be bought. This is our land. We do not want nuclear anything on our Land. Murray George, Chairman, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Law and Culture
Anangu Pitjantjatjara etc

September 25, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s legacy – it’s not pretty

Tony Abbott’s department discussed investigation into Bureau of Meteorology over global warming exaggeration claims, FOI documents reveal

Former prime minister Tony Abbott’s own department discussed setting up an investigation into the Bureau of Meteorology amid media claims it was exaggerating estimates of global warming, Freedom of Information documents have revealed.

In August and September 2014, The Australian newspaper published reports questioning the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BoM) methodology for analysing temperatures, reporting claims BoM was “wilfully ignoring evidence that contradicts its own propaganda”.


Abbott-liarFact check scorecard: How does Tony Abbott’s record of claims and promises stack up?

ABC Fact Check was established shortly before the 2013 election, and has been checking Tony Abbott’s claims ever since.

Before the election, Mr Abbott repeatedly set a high standard for integrity, promising to lead a government that “says what it means, and does what it says”.

Mr Abbott made many claims during his tenure on a diverse range of topics, including the economy, environment, immigration and employment.

So now that his time as leader is over, how does his record of claims and promises stack up?

September 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment


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