Malawi: Paladin Starts Discharging Uranium Wastes Into Public Rivers, AllAfrica, By Bishop Witmos Karonga April 23: Few months after Paladin Africa Limited differed with civil society organizations (CSOs) and some chiefs in Karonga over the disposition of uranium wastes into public water, the company has started discharging the effluent into Sere River.
Paladin Africa Limited, a member of the Paladin Energy group of companies, suspended its operations at Kayelekera Mine in the district in May, 2014, due to unstable uranium prices at an international market. The project is now on care and maintenance.
Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established Paladin invited Paramount Chief Kyungu and the District Commissioner (DC) for Karonga, Rosemary Moyo, to a meeting in Lilongwe early April this year (2015),to brief them about the company’s recent decision.
Paladin Africa Acting General Manager in Malawi, Greg Walker, confirmed in a telephone interview that the company, indeed, started releasing the uranium wastes into the public rivers………
Sere River flows into North Rukuru River, then into Lake Malawi.
When asked why the company decided to brief Paramount Chief Kyungu and the Karonga DC about their action in Lilongwe instead of explaining it to the general populace of Karonga, Walker said the company conducted enough meetings with relevant authorities in the district……..
Despite the decision by Paladin to start discharging its effluent into the public water, some people in the district feet it would have been safer if the company had constructed another dam where the wastes would be transferred into.
Chairperson for Karonga District Council, Patrick Kishombe, said in an interview the plan to release the waste water from the storage dam into Sere River is raising fears amongst communities who feel the water is not fully treated and could be a health hazard.
“This, I believe, will lead into many hazards, like killing of fish in Lake Malawi and may also cause skin cancer to some people,” said Kishombe.
Uranium contains gamma rays, particles that cause skin cancer to human kind, according to experts.
In developed nations, mining companies construct a stable tank that stores all the wastes, ready for transportation to recommended disposal sites. ……http://allafrica.com/stories/201504231621.html
Lomborg’s influence over key ministers in the Abbott government is quite well-known. He is seen to be at the centre of much of federal cabinet’s climate groupthink………
The real travesty of funding Lomborg’s newest franchise is that it comes from the same government that defunded the Climate Commission. This was composed of Australia’s best climate scientists, economists and energy experts, with an operating cost of A$1.5 million per year. This, more than even the most horrendous of storms, really exposes the parlous state of the Abbott government’s desertion of future generations
As such, one has to have some sympathy for Lomborg, who is a strange kind of “climate change refugee”. In 2012, the Danish government pulled all funding from his centre. Since, he has only set up shop in countries that have strong climate change-denying lobbies – both in the private sector and within mainstream media. He has enjoyed this in the US.
Lomborg operates by attaching himself to these centres as an adjunct professor, which will be his title at UWA, rather than a staff member. This offers the freedom to command remuneration well above a professorial salary – such as the US$775,000 he was paid in 2012 by the CCC and the US$200,484 paid for his work in 2013……… Continue reading
The government has indicated it will take a ‘technology neutral’ approach, which explains why Australia is the only nation in the world to axe the (carbon) tax, and efforts to slash the Renewable Energy Target by more than half.
Last year, the federal government approved the world’s largest coal fields in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – resources which the Climate Council reports “can not be developed” because they are “inconsistent with tackling climate change”.
Collectively, the proposed mines would create more emissions than nations like Australia, the UK, Italy and South Africa.
Why The Fate Of The World’s Climate Is Largely In Australia’s Hands, New Matilda, By Thom Mitchell, 23 Apr We’re told Australia’s contribution to global warning is minimal. A report out today proves that’s a dangerous lie. Thom Mitchell explains.
As American academic Bob Massey put it, “Australia now holds the fate of the world’s climate in its hands”.
In its pursuit of a solution to the ‘budget emergency’ Australia is using up the ‘carbon budget’ at a rate incompatible with the global goal of limiting temperature rises to below two degrees, a Climate Council report out today has demonstrated.
While Australia is under increasing pressure to announce an ambitious target to limit emissions at home, the report makes clear that it is our reliance on fossil fuel exports that is doing the real damage.
By actively seeking to prolong the dying revenue stream, which has buoyed the economy through the past decade, the Australian government is doing massive damage to the remaining ‘carbon budget’.
At a recent talk in Sydney, Massey was blunt. “If your government and mining companies decide to develop all of the coal and gas currently planned, already on the books, our children will be forced to endure a world very different from what we know,” he said.
To avoid such a world, scientists have developed the ‘carbon budget’ which, put simply, is the amount of carbon dioxide humans can emit into the atmosphere before temperature rises reach two degrees above pre-industrial levels.
On that basis, if all of Australia’s coal were burnt, it would use up two thirds of the ‘carbon budget’. Effectively, 90 per cent of the continent’s coal must stay in the ground. Continue reading
Nuclear lobby backs Abbott’s $4m gift to climate contrarian Lomborg, Independent Australia Giles Parkinson 23 April 2015, When push comes to shove to act on global warming, Big Mining will wheel in nuclear as a ploy to stall the take up of renewables. Is pro-nuclear Bjorn Lomborg’s thinktank in WA just a cynical move by Abbott to kill the clean energy industry? RenewEconomy’s Giles Parkinson runs the ruler over the nuclear option. THE PRO-NUCLEAR lobby has welcomed the decision by the Abbott government to award $4 million to Bjorn Lomborg, a climate “contrarian” who favours nuclear energy and opposes deployment of renewable energy.
Michael Schellenberger, president of the US-based Breakthrough Institute, a pro-nuclear think tank, tweeted over the weekend that the Australian government’s granting of funds to Lomborg was no different to the German government’s funding of an environmental think tank that favours renewable energy.
The difference may be that the Energiewende, or energy transition, is official bipartisan government policy in Germany. But Australia does not – at least officially, although its actions suggest otherwise – embrace climate obstructionism and nuclear technology. And it has defunded independent climate analysis such as that from the Climate Commission.
The tweet from the Breakthrough Institute might be unremarkable, but for that institution’s recent alliance with the pro-nuclear lobby in Australia, and the joint release of an “EcoModernist Manifesto” last week that says present day renewables are incapable of providing zero carbon energy, and that nuclear fission is the only technology capable of meeting most, if not all, the energy demands of a modern economy.
This, it would appear, seems to concur with the not-so-subtle secret agenda of Australian Coalition government policy. Continue reading
UN Countries Question Australia Over Climate And Energy Policy http://cleantechnica.com/2015/04/20/un-countrys-issue-australia-questions-climate-energy-policy/ by Joshua S Hill
Australia’s clean energy and climate policy (or lack thereof) has been brought back back into international focus again these last few weeks, as the country’s politicians continue to bicker over the Renewable Energy Target. Such political uncertainty has also led several major UN nations to present Australia with questions to explain their lack of political support for a cleaner future, with Brazil even going so far as to highlight Australia’s “low level of ambition.”
Over the past week, two reports have shown that the current political bickering has cost Australia’s renewable energy industry dearly, not to mention worldwide coverage concerningAustralia’s poor performance and unwillingness to commit to agreed upon climate facts and goals.
On Monday of last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released a report which showed that the country’s renewable energy sector lost almost 2,500 jobs over 2013-14. According to the figures published by the ABS, renewable energy industry jobs dropped 15%, or 2,300, from the peak of 14,890 recorded in 2011-12.
Two days later, a new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance showed that investment in the Australian renewable energy industry plummeted 90% over the 12 months since 31 March, 2014, “stifled by more than 13 months of policy uncertainty.”
We’re going backward if you compare us to quite a wide range of countries,” Andrew Thomson, managing director of Acciona Energy in Australia, said by phone to Bloomberg. “For companies operating in Australia, many would be saying, it’s getting extremely difficult here, why don’t we take a look at the broader region, Southeast Asia for example.”
These two reports followed a white paper published by the Australian Government on its energy policy, which was subsequently pulled apart by news agencies and industry representatives the country over.
So it comes as no real surprise, then, that United Nations’ countries are also going to be asking questions of Australia. The UN has compiled a list of questions presented to Australia (PDF) from a number of countries, including from big emitters like the United States and China. Even countries like Saudi Arabia and Brazil got in on the action, calling in to question Australia’s “initiative to support sustainable development” and Australia’s “level of ambition.”
Of the over 35 questions presented to Australia in the March session of the UN, not a single one has an answer from Australia — and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the most telling point of it all.
China and other big emitters challenge Australia over its climate change policies, The Age, Adam Morton and Tom Arup April 20, 2015 The world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including China and the US, have questioned the credibility of Australia’s climate change targets and “direct action” policy in a list of queries to the Abbott government.
In the latest sign of diplomatic pressure over Canberra’s stance on global warming, China accused Australia of doing less to cut emissions than it is demanding of other developed countries, and asked it to explain why this was fair.
Beijing also questioned whether the Abbott government’s emissions reduction fund – the centrepiece of its direct action policy, under which the government will pay some emitters to make cuts – would be enough to make up for the axed carbon price and meet Australia’s commitment of a minimum 5 per cent emissions cut below 2000 levels by 2020.
The questions have been lodged with the United Nations for Australia to answer in the lead-up to the December climate summit in Paris, where the world is supposed to sign a global deal to combat climate change. Continue reading
International nuclear-site visit on cards for royal commissioner MEREDITH BOOTH THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 18, 2015
Australia not among rich nations releasing post-2020 emission goals on time, The Age April 1, 2015 Lisa Cox and Peter Hannam Australia has been left behind by most other wealthy nations in failing to disclose its post-2020 carbon reduction goals by the first quarter of 2015 as agreed at a global gathering in Peru last December.
The 28-nation European Union has announced that it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent on 1990 levels by 2030. On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama formalised in a submission to the UN the United States’ commitment to cuts that were first revealed in a landmark announcement with China last year………
Assuming the US goal was unchanged from the pledge made by President Obama during a visit to China last October, Australia would need a much deeper goal than its current bipartisan aim of slicing gas emissions by 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 to keep up, said Pep Canadell, a CSIRO research scientist and executive director of the Global Carbon Project.
“If you want the effort to be proportional to what US and Australia committed for the 2005-2020 period, it would be something like [a cut of] 17 per cent by 2025 [for Australia],” Dr Canadell said.
Australia joined Canada in holding off on making any commitments for now.
The Abbott government’s issues paper, released on Saturday, appears to lay the groundwork for Australia to argue for special treatment in the talks because of the country’s heavily resource-based economy………
Emissions from power plants in the 12 months to September totalled 181.9 million tonnes, or about 1.5 million tonnes more than for the year to June.
If the emissions shift were to be maintained, it would increase emissions from electricity generators by about 4 per cent this year, Hugh Saddler, principal consultant with Pitt & Sherry, said.
John Connor, chief executive of the Climate Institute, said it was a poor showing by Australia to fall short of the March 31 goal for releasing its post-2020 target.”Australia, as a wealthy country with over 20 years’ experience in detailed climate policy analysis, should be amongst those – including Mexico – who have met that deadline,” Mr Connor said……. http://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/australia-not-among-rich-nations-releasing-post2020-emission-goals-on-time-20150401-1mc2t2.html
Australia and India face a graver test than cricket Against the backdrop of Australia and India squaring up in the World Cup cricket, the two nations now face a test with much graver consequences, write Dave Sweeney and Jim Green. SBS News, 26 Mar 15 When Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed a uranium deal with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last September, he praised India’s “absolutely impeccable non-proliferation record”. This praise came despite the reality that India is actively expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal and its missile delivery capabilities.
Mr Abbott declined to answer serious questions about India’s nuclear weapons program or the inadequate safety standards in and inadequate regulation of its civil nuclear program. Instead, he offered a cricketing cliché, declaring that Australia and India trust each other on issues like uranium safeguards because of “the fundamentally ethical principle that every cricketer is supposed to assimilate – play by the rules and accept the umpire’s decision”.
Gaining comfort from clichés while ignoring inconvenient truths might work for those in Canberra and mining company boardrooms but it fails any real world test.
The proposed India uranium agreement is currently being considered by federal parliament’s treaties committee, and it has yet to be ratified by parliament. Submissions to the treaties committee have raised many serious concerns − and not just from the usual suspects.
Those raising concerns and objections include John Carlson, former Director-General of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office; Ron Walker, former Chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors; Prof. Lawrence Scheinman, former Assistant Director of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; Princeton University physicist Dr M.V. Ramana; and nuclear arms control expert Crispin Rovere.
The uranium agreement with India weakens Australia’s nuclear safeguards standards, increases the chances of Australian uranium finding its way into Indian weapons and would lead to further undermining of nuclear checks and balances. If the uranium agreement is approved there will be sustained pressure for Australia to apply equally inadequate standards to other uranium customer countries. As John Carlson notes in his submission: “If the Government does compromise Australia’s safeguards conditions, inevitably this will lead to other agreement partners asking for similar treatment.”
Mr Carlson’s critique carries particular weight given that for over two decades he was the head of Australia’s nuclear safeguards office……..http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/03/26/comment-australia-and-india-face-graver-test-cricket
Ultimately, Australia’s diminished influence could have an impact on its economy, in ways that the Australian public, and the Australian media, did not understand. (Indeed, RenewEconomy has been the only Australian media at the last three climate talks, Doha, Warsaw and Lima).
Abbott throwing away Australian influence at climate talks, report says, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 25 March 2015
The Lowy Institute report – written by Howard Bamsey, Australia’s former special envoy on climate change, and Kath Rowley, the general manager of reviews at the Climate Change Authority – says climate change negotiations should be at the top of Australia’s priorities. If not, Australia risks losing the ability to influence the shape of a new global climate treaty that could have major consequences for its own economy. Continue reading
Abbott government resists US moves against coal power, The Age March 26, 2015 – Lisa Cox, Mark Kenny The Abbott government has again put itself on a collision course with US President Barack Obama, this time over government funding for coal-fired power plants.
The revelations call into question Canberra’s readiness to cooperate with other major economies in the lead-up to global climate talks in Paris in December.
Environment groups believe Australia is running interference in order to protect its own coal export markets in Asia……..the Australian government is arguing that limiting financial assistance to non-coal based power plants would send the wrong message to developing economies………
>Doug Norlen, a senior economic policy manager with Friends of the Earth, US, said the Abbott government was putting itself at odds with President Obama, who was using international forums to push other world leaders to reduce fossil fuel use in the lead-up to the Paris talks.
“This is interesting in several contexts, including in the recent context of the G20 where President Obama gave a very strong speech on the need to protect the Great Barrier Reef from damage from fossil fuel exportation,” he said.
“As we go forward, the Paris meetings become an important place where countries need to stand up and declare their seriousness about climate change or shirk their responsibility.”……..http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/abbott-government-resists-us-moves-against-coal-power-20150326-1m7mxr.html
Critics concerned as government invites climate ‘policy sceptic’ Bjorn Lomborg to address aid staff, The Age March 23, 201 Markus Mannheim One of the world’s most prominent climate contrarians will address Australian diplomats and aid staff on Monday – an invitation that has rankled the opposition and environmental activists……Dr Lomborg is best known for his books
“climate-change alarmists” of focusing on worst-case scenarios and ignoring more positive data……Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, questioned Dr Lomborg’s involvement.
“It’s up to Julie Bishop to explain why she made this choice,” she said.
“In particular, what kind of message does it send to our Pacific Island neighbours, who say dealing with the effects of climate change are some of the biggest challenges they face?”…….
Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie also opposed the government’s decision to invite Dr Lomborg, saying he had “a history of downplaying the consequences of climate change and also of cherry-picking data”. http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/critics-concerned-as-government-invites-climate-policy-sceptic-bjorn-lomborg-to-address-aid-staff-20150322-1m4tor.html
Green Parties call for a nuclear free region on anniversary of Fukushima, Global Greens 10 March, 2015 “……The Green Parties of the Asia Pacific region offer our sincere condolences for the tragedy suffered, and our solidarity with the people and Green Party of Japan.
We use this anniversary to remind the Governments of the world, that it is the responsibility of all nations to ensure the safety of our planet.
There is no doubt, the suffering for the Japanese people has been immense, especially for those living in and around Fukushima, and it is not yet over. The world has already witnessed suffering following nuclear disasters in Chernobyl (Ukraine), Khystym (Russia), Sellafield (United Kingdom), and Three Mile Island (USA). However, there are currently 71 new nuclear plants under construction around the world, the majority of which are in the Asia Pacific region (China 26, Taiwan 2, India 6, Japan 2, Pakistan 2, South Korea 5). (3)
It is time we fully committed to a nuclear-free world.
Whether your country is listed as one of these constructing further nuclear plants or not, we are all implicated in the nuclear supply chain – through uranium mining, refining, power generation, radioactive waste, nuclear weapons, or through complicity by not discouraging the practice of our trading partners.
Green Parties around the globe oppose the expansion of nuclear power and are working to rapidly phase it out. Nuclear energy is not the emissions-free solution that the world needs to address climate change, in fact, it is a net producer of greenhouse gases.(4)
As we have seen with Fukushima, the human and planetary costs are too high, and when examining the nuclear supply chain, it is simply ineffective at reducing emissions.
We need to stay focused on transitioning to clean renewable energy sources – these are not only safer, but offer a more equitable solution. We can achieve economic development with genuine quality of life through a sustainable smart green economy. Examples of this kind of development include community-based, co-operative, renewable energy operations complemented by reduced energy consumption through electricity saving government policies.
At this critical moment, we ask the people Asia Pacific to call on their governments to:
- Commit to a nuclear-free world.
- Move to clean equitable renewable energy solutions for your country
- Provide democratic process in citizens’ referenda on nuclear power.
- Ensure information transparency, participatory democracy, social and environmental justice for residents living near power plants and nuclear waste fields.
- Prioritise in decision-making the wellbeing of our planet and future generations.
The Asia-Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) Coordination Committee
The APGF’s members are:
- Australia: Australian Greens
- India: Uttarakhand Parivartan Party (UKPP)
- Indonesia: Sarekat Hijau (Indonesian Green Union)
- Japan: Greens Japan
- Korea, Republic of: Green Party Korea
- Mongolia: Mongolian Green Party
- Mongolia: Civil Will Green Party of Mongolia
- Nepal: Nepali Greens (Green Civil Society)
- New Zealand: Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
- Pakistan: Pakistan Green Party
- Taiwan: Green Party Taiwan http://www.globalgreens.org/news/green-parties-call-nuclear-free-region-anniversary-fukushima
India’s intrepid and well-articulated energy policy stands in stark relief to Australia. If our national energy policy were actually articulated, it might be “let’s keep on digging ever bigger holes in the ground, cross our fingers and hope for the best”.
By 2020, the country aims to have electrification of the remaining 20,000 villages, including by way of off-grid solar.
In its plan to increase renewable energy capacity by 175GW by 2022 (from its current 34GW), the Indian budget is targeting 100GW of solar, 60GW of wind, 10GW of new biomass and 5GW of run-of-river hydro installs.
The sun isn’t shining on ‘old energy’ sectors, The Age, March 9, 2015 Michael West Business columnist “.…..Electricity prices have run too high. Renewable energy is rapidly getting cheaper, more efficient, and power companies are desperately trying to lock in customers and stave off the incursion from renewables………
Deutsche Bank released a research report last month which predicted solar energy was well on its way to replacing conventional fuels as the major source of energy in the world, generating $5 trillion in revenue by 2030. That’s $5000 billion.
At the moment, there are 130GW of solar installed; 1 per cent of the $2 trillion annual global electricity market.
By 2050, Deutsche said, solar would have captured 30 per cent of the market.
The rise in renewable efficiency has been spectacular. “Grid parity” is nigh; Continue reading
Liberal and Labor MPs want Canada involved in Royal Commission – (pity about Canada’s nuclear corruption)
South Australia to tap Canada’s nuclear know-how THE AUSTRALIAN SA Bureau Chief Adelaide MARCH 07, 2015 SOUTH Australian Labor Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has met Canadian government officials to push for their participation in his state’s royal commission into the nuclear industry.
Michael OwenSOUTH Australian Labor Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has met Canadian government officials to push for their participation in his state’s royal commission into the nuclear industry.
The news came as federal Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey, whose electorate covers a vast area of South Australia’s remote far north, said he hoped a potential site for a national nuclear dump could be found inthe region, and would consider one on his 2400ha farm……..
Mr Koutsantonis, also the state’s Energy Minister, is a strong proponent of developing a nuclear energy industry in South Australia.
He was in Canada this week for the world’s largest mining convention, the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada International Convention.
He told The Weekend Australian that South Australia’s planned royal commission into nuclear power was a hot topic in meetings at PDAC, held in Toronto with more than 25,000 attendees from 100 countries………
Mr Koutsantonis met senior government officials, in particular those from the provinces of Saskatchewan and Ontario, to talk about the potential of the nuclear fuel cycle in South Australia…….
Mr Koutsantonis said the reaction to Premier Jay Weatherill’s announcement of a royal commission had been “overwhelmingly positive”. He said that federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb, also in Canada promoting Australian mining interests, had reaffirmed the Abbott government’s support for the royal commission.