But – let’s pretend that nuclear reactors really could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
TIME: To do that, 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed within a few yeas to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology Study on “The Future of Nuclear Power” projected that a global growth scenario for as many as 1500 one thousand megawatt-electric new reactors would be needed to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil generation. Average 115 built per year would reduce our CO2 use by only 16%.
When we talk about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – that 1500 reactors needed translates to millions, (and these SMRs are already shown to be more costly than large ones,)
COSTS: historically and now, the costs of the nuclear industry are staggering. Cost estimates have increased in the past decade from $1,000 to $7,000 per kW installed. And that’s before additional costs – e.g new safety measures, decommissioning are added. U.S. Vogtle project originally budgeted at $660 million, by 2013 cost $9 billion. Rating agencies consider nuclear investment risky and the abandoning of nuclear projects explicitly “credit positive”.
Meanwhile – if the nuclear “climate cure” were to be pursued, the enormous costs and efforts involved would take away from the clean, fast, and ever cheaper solutions of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
I felt that I must go back to a “theme” for this month, because this one is such an important one.
The nuclear industry has put it over the world with a number of lies. Yet one by one, each nuclear lie has been exposed.
Nuclear power is not clean. It’s not cheap. It’s not safe. It’s notnecessary.
Today – those nuclear promoters who in the past denied that global warming was happening – are now changing their tune.
The only seemingly valid argument for nuclear power is that it will “combat global warming” because nuclear is “emissions free. It is “low carbon”
But that’s just another lie.
Global action on Climate Change is urgently needed. Australia used to be the leader in this. Now we are going backwards, under the leadership of Big Business puppet Prime Minister TonyAbbott.
The global nuclear lobby looks to Australia to be the sucker again – not just for uranium mining, but for nuclear militarism, nuclear power, and nuclear waste dumping.
But – hows to sell this to the public?
Here’s where they come up with the latest and biggest lie. And Abbott is just the man to spout the complete fallacy that nuclear power can do anything to combat climate change.
As the global nuclear lobby, and Kevin Scarce’s South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Commission continue their machinations, there is a powerful force ensuring that their new “nuclear renaissance” is not going to happen in Australia, or anywhere.
Climate change is bringing extreme temperatures and weather events, and sea level rise, to Australia.
For Australia, the threats from global warming are very real:
- bushfires would pose the greatest threat to any nuclear facilities, (as Ukraine and USA are already finding out).
- Droughts bring water shortages, meaning that precious water is not easily available for water guzzling nuclear reactors.
- Where inland reactors are water-cooled – the threat to river life of heat pollution becomes greater.
- There would be great danger to the Great Artesian Basin increases, especially for any nuclear facilities located in South Australia
- For coastal nuclear facilities, sea level rise and storm surges are dangers.
- For many nuclear facilities ( reactors, fuel processing, waste disposal), coastal or inland, flooding brings more danger.
Now there is a concerted attack, led by the polluting industries, and promoted by the Murdoch media empire, to stop Australia taking action on climate change. The push is to get rid of Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard, much as the polluting lobby got rid of the previous Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, when he aimed to bring in a super profits mining tax.
Somewhat isolated from world opinion, Australians are unaware of climate action being taken by many countries, with carbon pricing successfully operating. Australians are vulnerable to the conspiracy theories of Lord Monckton and others on the fringe of science, as these are given respect and credence. Meanwhile the media largely ignores genuine scientists from reputable climate and metereological agencies.
Yet, strangely, the same lobby that denies global warming promotes nuclear power as the solution to global warming!
Since around 2003 -4 the global nuclear industry has positioned itself as part of the solution to climate change. In what has been an unprecedented attempt to fool governments and the public about its merits, and to minimise its dangers, the nuclear industry has been cavalier with the truth, to say the very least.
It claims that it is greenhouse friendly, and therefore should be a sought-after energy source for the future. The only part of the nuclear industry’s operations which is not a heavy greenhouse gas emitter is the boiling of the water in the reactor. At every other stage in the chain, from uranium mining, to milling, to transport, to enrichment, to construction of reactors, to re-processing, to storage of waste (probably requiring more transport), to making of weapons, to de-commissioning of reactors, greenhouse gases are emitted….
All reactors on sea coasts endangered by sea level rise
Over the next hundred years there will be significant sea rises, one meter or more, and many closed nuclear reactor sites could be flooded, including the stored nuclear waste. That could contaminate much of the coast lines for decades.
Besides those in France, many nuclear reactors in Japan, the US, the UK, Belgium and China are located on or near sea coast or rivers.
A STUNNING new Climate Council report that reveals the climate system is changing more rapidly than expected and with larger and more damaging impacts paints a stark picture of the urgent need for action, Professor Tim Flannery said today.
Climate Change 2015: Growing Risks, Critical Choices provides the most up-to-date, comprehensive synthesis of climate science in Australia and exposes the extent of the dramatic changes in the climate system worldwide.
“In short, the more we know about climate change, the riskier it looks,” Prof Flannery said.
“Heatwaves, sea level rise and ice loss are all increasing as the air, the ocean and the land continues to warm strongly. Extreme weather events like dangerous bushfire weather are becoming more severe and frequent.
“But this is a future we don’t have to have. Tackling climate change and moving to clean, renewable energy is the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do to protect our health and wellbeing. The right thing to do to protect us from economic shocks from worsening extreme weather and opening new opportunities for jobs and investment in new industries. Unfortunately the barriers to action are political.”
The report found:
- SEA LEVEL RISE: Australian sea levels are projected to continue to rise through the 21stcentury at a rate faster than that over the past four decades or over the 20th century as a whole. More than $226 billion of buildings and infrastructure are vulnerable to 1.1m of sea-level rise.
- EXTREME HEAT: Hot days have doubled in the last 50 years and heatwaves have become hotter, longer and happen more often. The number of deaths in summer in Australia has steadily increased over the last 40 years. In the future extreme heat increases are very likely with more frequent and hotter hot days and longer and more severe heatwaves.
- BUSHFIRE: Extreme bushfire weather has increased in the south east of Australia in the last 30 years and a “Catastrophic” category was added following Black Saturday bushfires. Longer and hotter fire seasons in eastern and southern Australia are likely in the future.
- HEATWAVES: In Adelaide, the number of heatwave days has nearly doubled since 1950 and the average intensity of the peak heatwave day has increased by 4.3°C. In 1995, Adelaide experienced 20 days above 35°C. By 2090 it could experience up to 47 per year. Deaths from heatwaves in Australian cities are projected to double over the next 40 years.
- BUSHFIRES: Climate change is already increasing the risk of bushfires in southern South Australia; extreme fire weather has increased over the last 30 years in South Australia. The fire season in South Australia is starting earlier and lasting longer. In 2014 the bushfire season started earlier in seven of 15 districts in South Australia. By about mid-century, the total economic costs of South Australian bushfires are projected to almost double, potentially reaching $79 million.
- COASTAL FLOODING: In Adelaide, today’s 1-in-100–year flooding event would occur every year or so by 2100 under a high emissions scenario. A sea level rise of 1.1 m exposes a significant amount of infrastructure to the impacts of flooding and erosion in South Australia, including between $5 billion-$8 billion worth of residential buildings
- Arctic sea ice retreat over the past three decades was unprecedented in at least the last 1,450 years.
- The 1980s, 1990s and 2000s were all hotter than any other decade in recorded history.
- Sea level rise is accelerating – the average rate of sea-level rise between 1901 and 2010 was 1.7 mm per year, increasing to 3.2 mm per year between 1993 and 2010.
The report underscored that Australia’s post 2020 emissions reduction targets were too weak to protect Australians from worsening climate change impacts, Professor Will Steffen said.
“As the escalating risks of climate change have become clearer and more disturbing, other countries have started to heed the warnings, putting in place tangible and ambitious policies,” he said.
“But Australia’s response to meeting the challenge of Paris is disappointingly weak; it is out of step with the science and out of step with most of the developed world.”
Professor Lesley Hughes said Australia had critical choices to make as country.
“We can embrace the range of solutions to climate change, which are more feasible and less costly than ever before, and build a healthier and more economically viable future or we can continue to pay the many costs that come from delaying action on climate change,” she said.
The Climate Council is an independent, crowd-funded organization providing quality information to climate change to the Australian public. For media enquiries, please contact Senior Media Advisor Jessica Craven on 0400 424 559.
Climate system changing faster than expected: Climate Council, ABC Radio Angela Lavoipierre reported this story on Tuesday, August 25, 2015
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The Climate Council says the case for the link between climate change and severe weather events has become much stronger. In a new report the Council states that the world’s climate system is changing more rapidly than expected.
ANGELA LAVOIPIERRE: The Climate Council’s report gives a snapshot of the changes so far to Australia’s climate, as well as changes it expects over the coming century.
The Council’s professor Will Steffen paints a grim picture.
WILL STEFFEN: One of the things that we can say is that we’re already seeing some impacts. Heat waves are lasting longer and starting earlier.
We’re seeing in the south-east of the country high bushfire danger weather has increased significantly over the last 30 years. We’ve seen that sea level has risen about the global average around Australia. That’s led to a threefold increase in coastal flooding.
ANGELA LAVOIPIERRE: And then, there’s what’s to come.
WILL STEFFEN: If we keep, if the globe keeps emitting fossil fuel emissions like we are now, we could see up to a metre of sea level rise around Australia. That could for example make a one in a hundred year flooding event in Sydney a daily event……..http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4299445.htm
Global warming to drive quadrupling of extreme weather trifecta, study finds August 18, 2015 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The worst combination of extreme weather patterns in the Indian and Pacific oceans will likely rise four-fold this century if greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trajectory, leading researchers have said.
Australia’s already variable climate may be particularly susceptible to a punishing sequence of events. This starts with reduced rainfall sourced off the nation’s north-west, combining with a strong El Nino in the Pacific to intensify drought over the food bowl regions of south-eastern Australia, only to be followed by floods during a powerful La Nina event the following year.
That extreme and rare trifecta – similar to the combination that occurred during 1997-99 – will happen about once every 48 years compared with about once every 187 years in the past, research published on Tuesday in Nature Climate Change says. The research is based on more than 20 climate models.
But even weaker versions of the three elements are likely to have an amplified impact as background warming from climate change makes rainfall shifts and heatwave conditions easier to generate.
UN climate expert warns Australia’s emissions target should not be final offer, The Age, August 13, 2015 Nicole Hasham Environment and immigration correspondent Australia should not attend global talks in Paris refusing to budge on its greenhouse gas emission pledge, the UN’s scientific body on climate change has said, ahead of expected international pressure on the Abbott government to do better……….
In Canberra on Wednesday, Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the December talks in Paris were negotiations.
“No country can go to negotiations knowing or thinking, really, that the [emissions target] numbers cannot be touched,” he said. Professor van Ypersele said targets from each nation would be collated and assessed, adding the collective efforts may not be enough to keep warming below 2 degrees. That would lead to “a discussion on how to increase the level of ambition and who needs to increase it first”, he said.
While pledges from nations may not be formally negotiated at Paris, leaders will probably be urged to increase their ambitions, either during the conference or afterwards……….
On Wednesday Labor leader Bill Shorten said he would attend the Paris talks.
The Marshall Islands, a Pacific nation highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, has decried Australia’s pledge as a “weak target” that erodes our international reputation.
Mr Abbott said the Minerals Council of Australia, which represents the mining industry, called the target is “ambitious”.
The target has been interpreted as an effort to placate climate sceptics in the community and the government, while doing the minimum needed to meet Australia’s international obligations.
Climate Institute deputy chief executive Erwin Jackson said Australia’s target was “not the end of the story”. “Countries in Paris will be under pressure to lift their ambitions,” he said.
“Both diplomatic and economic pressure is [also] going to build through time after Paris for countries to get in line with where the world needs to go, which is towards net zero emissions.” http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/un-climate-expert-warns-australias-emissions-target-should-not-be-final-offer-20150812-gixa98.html#ixzz3ijcqRmdX
Abbott won’t attend UN climate change talk http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/abbott-wont-attend-un-climate-change-talk/story-fni0xqi4-1227478782154 PRIME Minister Tony Abbott won’t attend the United Nations climate change summit at the end of the year.
INSTEAD, he will send Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to Paris for the talks to nut out a post-2020 global approach to dealing with climate change.
Labor says if world leaders like US President Barack Obama can find time to attend there is no excuse Mr Abbott can’t as well.
Never mind the target – can the government actually deliver? No.
The government plans to meet the 2030 target essentially on a wing and a prayer. There were graphs galore at today’s media conference, but the crucial one from Greg Hunt committed the government to extending Direct Action all the way out to 2030……..That’s the sort of obfuscation we’ve come to expect from the Abbott government when it comes to climate. This is a government viscerally opposed to meaningful action on climate change on any level beyond the symbolic.
To see why, judge the government not by its words, but by its actions.
Tony Abbott Has No Intention Of Reaching His Flimsy Emissions Target, New Matilda, Ben Eltham, 11 Aug 15 The combination of policies being deployed by the government will not help them achieve even the weak target announced today, writes Ben Eltham.
The news that the Abbott government has settled on an emissions reduction target for Australia out to 2030 heralds a new turn in climate politics in this country. The target, announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott today, is a 26 per cent reduction on 2030 levels compared to 2005. It would put Australia at the back of the international pack – offering less than Canada, the United States or Europe. Only Japan is offering a smaller target.
On the one hand, of course, this target is manifestly inadequate. Continue reading
We must admire the gall, and the duplicity, of the nuclear lobby
On the one hand, just recently – they’re making a big fuss about how serious climate change is – because hey presto! – they claim (falsely) that nuclear power can solve the problem of climate change – and save the world!
On the other hand – not a peep out of the nuclear lobby, about how badly climate change already is, and will, more and more, do damage to nuclear facilities, and make them ever more expensive.
It’s no surprise that the nuclear lobby is going all out at the moment to convince the world that ionising radiation is not dangerous – indeed , that it is good for human heath.
Because – when there’s a climate disaster – wildfire, flooding, storm surges – affected nuclear facilities might release ionising radiation into the air, the water, the food chain.
No other technology carries that particular threat. So – despite the evidence from Chernobyl, and Fukushima, the nuclear lobby pretends that the risk of ionising radiation into the ecosphere is nothing special. But it is. Only nuclear fission and its waste products carry that danger.
Taylor’s book shows how Australia could have acted on climate change a quarter of a century ago, but how corporate interests and economic ideologies not only stopped the clock on action, but wound it back
Australia was ready to act on climate 25 years ago, so what happened next?, Guardian, Graham Readfearn, 7 Aug 15 New book investigates how corporate interests and ideologues worked to make Australia doubt what it knew about climate change and its risks.
There’s something about climate change that almost everyone in Australia has either forgotten or never knew in the first place.
In 1990 Bob Hawke announced his government wanted the country to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by the year 2005.
For a fleeting moment, it seemed the Australian public, politicians and the media were in agreement with the science.
But a new book investigates how the industries that stood to lose the most worked to undermine the science and entirely reshape the story being told to the public.
“We have been propagandised,” says the author, Maria Taylor. Continue reading