Australian news, and some related international items

Senators, servants of the nuclear lobby, stitched up wind power inquiry

The Senate inquiry is led crossbenchers David Leyonhjelm, John Madigan and Bob Day


.Senate inquiry into wind power a ‘stitch-up’ Jul 31, 2015   Renewable energy sector claims industry would be destroyed if recommendations are followed. The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has accused a Senate inquiry of a “biased political stitch-up” against the renewable energy industry. Continue reading

August 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Abbott’s latest attack on the wind power industry

wind-farm-evil-1Abbott passes new wind war  By   From The Australian:

The Abbott government is being urged to strip billions more from subsidies to wind farms in the final report of a Senate committee that has already pushed renewable ­energy investment to favour solar.

In its recommendations, the committee says renewable energy subsidies for new wind farms should be limited to five years from more than 20.

It also wants the issue of renewable energy certificates restricted to projects in states that adopt federal regulations on infrasound and low frequency noise.

Why not adopt regulations on unicorns and bunyips?

August 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Working people benefit from Labort’s energy policy

Labor’s energy policy an Australian first in supporting workers TONY MAHER THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 30, 2015 There was an important Australian first in the electricity and climate change policy passed by Labor’s national conference on the weekend, and it had nothing to do with the renewable energy target or emissions trading schemes. Frankly, it had nothing to do with climate change.

It was the first time an Australian political party has got serious about designing a plan to support electricity workers and their communities with the transition from a coal-fired electricity system to a future where renewables play an increasing role in powering our homes and workplaces……….

So Labor’s plan for the electricity sector is an Australian first. It establishes a dedicated agency to manage any transition and oversee redeployment, retraining and income support. This has budget implications but it is the only way forward.

We need a clear industry adjustment package and workforce plan. The approach to retraining and redeployment requires a serious analysis of growth industries where energy and mining workers’ skills are transferable, combined with government intervention and financial support to help individual workers make a transition.

With thermal electricity plants closing one by one, we need a clear focus on redeploying workers to jobs in the energy and mining sector, including to remaining plants with continuous vacancies due to their age profile………

Labor’s electricity modernisation strategy announced on Saturday charts the way forward. It is designed to manage necessary industry restructure and support workers and their communities, while reducing emissions. It deserves broad support but, make no mistake, if Labor in government doesn’t deliver for workers, we will wage a concerted campaign to get what has been promised.

Tony Maher is national president of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union

August 1, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Increasing anxiety over secret Trans Pacific Partnership

text-TPP-Avaaz-petitionSecrecy Around TPP Fuels Suspicions, Worries,, 27 July 15,    After chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are leaked to Wikileaks, critics and backers of the controversial proposal are out in full force. With a Maui meeting looming, how will it affect the country and its industry? WASHINGTON, D.C. — Higher costs for needed generic drugs. Longer copyright protections than the global standard. Foreign investors empowered to overrule governments. A more tightly-regulated Internet.

Those are some of the potential pitfalls from any deal that could emerge from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-country free-trade and investment pact shrouded in secrecy as negotiations head into the final stage in Hawaii next week.

A handful of draft chapters of the TPP, leaked via Wikileaks, have highlighted the proposed treaty’s heavy emphasis on expanding protections for corporate rights and assets like intellectual property — patents, copyrights and databases — that are far more valuable to advanced economy corporations than traditional cargo trade. Continue reading

July 29, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australian Labor Party delegates vote for 50 per cent renewable energy plan

ballot-boxSmLabor supports higher renewables target Delegates at the ALP national conference have passed a motion to aspire to a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030. SBS News  25 JUL 2015 AUSTRALIA SHOULD BE ASPIRING TO A TARGET OF 50 PER CENT RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2030, LABOR SAYS.

Climate action groups rallied in support as a motion to increase the target was passed by delegates at the ALP national conference in Melbourne on Saturday.

“Labor will take a 50 per cent goal for renewable energy by 2030 to the election … because we know renewable energy will be a central part, not just of Australia’s energy system, but of our industrial and jobs base as well,” opposition climate change spokesman Mark Butler said……… Continue reading

July 27, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment

Al Gore’s visit and Victoria’s Climate Charter proposal

a-cat-CANAl Gore is visiting Australia to promote action on climate change. Still, we have to watch out that he is not on the “nuclear for climate” bandwagon.

A good sign is that Gore has recently been criticised by the pro nuclear front group Breakthrough Institute for being “sceptical” about nuclear power’s future.


On Monday, Environmental Justice Australia will release a proposal for a Victorian Climate Charter, which it says is modelled on the state’s existing Human Rights Charter.

Gore,-Al-climateAl Gore flies into Australia to push momentum towards Paris climate summit July 27, 2015   Environment editor, The Age   Former United States vice-president Al Gore has flown into Australia for a whistlestop tour that includes meetings with state government ministers and senior business figures as part of efforts to build global momentum towards the Paris climate change summit later this year.

Mr Gore arrived in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon, heading to a speaking engagement and then dinner with Victorian ministers and senior executives from major companies, including BHP, National Australia Bank and Qantas, to discuss climate change and the importance of the Paris meeting, at which it is hoped a new international agreement to curb global warming will be signed……..

Ministers from Labor-led Victoria, Queensland and South Australia will attend Monday’s meeting with Mr Gore. Conservative-led NSW will send a senior public servant, as will Labor-led ACT. Tasmania, Northern Territory and Western Australia will not be represented. Continue reading

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

Federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese opposes Australian further involvement in nuclear fuel chain

Albanese, AnthonyPremier Jay Weatherill at loggerheads with senior Labor members over nuclear industry, GST, Perth Now July 24, 2015 PETER JEAN CHRIS RUSSELL The Advertiser “…….Federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese yesterday declared his opposition to any further Australian involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle and to the importation of nuclear waste, while Labor leader Bill Shorten reiterated his hostility to raising the GST.

Mr Albanese – who unsuccessfully stood for the Labor leadership after the last federal election – yesterday said it was too dangerous for Australia to become more involved in the nuclear fuel cycle.

“My position on the nuclear fuel cycle is clear,’’ Mr Albanese told an anti-nuclear weapons event held on the sidelines of the ALP conference.“Until the issues of nuclear waste and nuclear proliferation are satisfactorily solved, I oppose any further Australian involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle.“Nuclear waste created today, remains an issue for generations to come.’’

Mr Albanese’s opposition to nuclear energy is heavily influenced by his close friendship with former Labor MP Tom Uren, who died earlier this year. As a prisoner of the Japanese in 1945, Mr Uren saw the mushroom cloud from the atomic bombing of Nagasaki……..

Labor’s platform commits the party in government to prohibiting “the establishment of nuclear power plants and all other stages of the nuclear fuel cycle in Australia.’’

 Any addition to the nuclear industry in Australia would require both state and federal legislative change.

An anti-nuclear section of the Federal Labor policy platform will be left in place at Labor’s national conference in Melbourne this weekend……..

Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, the head of South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, said yesterday if he was to recommend an expansion of the industry, national support would be crucial.“There would be no opportunity ­- in my view – without bipartisan support both at the federal and state level to make the investment that would be necessary,” he said………

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

Labor leader Bill Shorten foresees a climate change election

Shorten, BillBring on a climate change election, says Bill Shorten, SMH,  July 24, 2015  Political editor, The Age

Bill Shorten has challenged Tony Abbott to fight the next election on the issue of climate change, declaring: “I’ve got a three-word slogan for him: Bring it on.”

Describing climate change as “an economic and environmental cancer”, the Labor leader has vowed to build an emissions trading scheme and not be intimidated by “ridiculous scare campaigns”.

In a speech to be delivered at the party’s national conference in Melbourne, Mr Shorten says only Labor can save Australia’s renewable energy industry. While Tony Abbott has been a scathing critics of wind farms, Mr Shorten will tell the conference: “I want more Aussie farmers earning more money by putting wind turbines on their land.” Continue reading

July 24, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Bjorn Lomborg’s Climate Consensus Centre for Flinders University?

Flinders University in talks on Lomborg plan for Consensus Centre 


The Abbott government has held talks with Flinders University about hosting a major policy centre­ in Adelaide based on the methodology of controversial Danish academic Bjorn Lomborg.

Lomborg, Bjorn

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has been searching for an institution willing to host the so-called Australia Consensus Centre, with $4 million in federal funds, since the University of Western Australia pulled out of its contract in May………


Dr Lomborg has attracted controversy for suggesting that the dangers of climate change have been overstated and that the world faces more pressing challenges, such as poverty.

A spokesman for Mr Pyne confirmed last night that talks with Flinders were at an early stage.

He said that the Adelaide-based university had recently approached­ the government about the establishment of the Copen­hagen Consensus methodology in Australia.

A Flinders spokeswoman confirmed the approach and said the university was yet to make a decis­ion……..

Flinders is led by vice-chancellor Colin Stirling, who took up the position in January. Professor Stirling was formerly the senior deputy vice-chancellor at Curtin University in Perth and a research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

The university’s chancellor — or chairman of the board — is leading Adelaide businessman Stephen Gerlach, a former chairman of oil company Santos……..


The federal opposition has questioned the political motiva­tion of the $4 million government grant to set up the centre. It questioned how the centre was given the grant at a time when other universities were facing significant funding cuts.

In May, Professor Johnson said that many UWA academics had complained about Dr Lomborg’s integrity in the area of climate change research and were concerned­ that these alleged shortcomings might extend into other policy fields to be examined.

July 24, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s sly way of stopping action on climate change

Abbott-shhhhTony Abbott and his mates’ new path of climate change obstruction, Independent Australia,  Patrick Keane 22 July 2015 Tony Abbott and opponents of action on climate change have determined a new path of obstruction, writes Patrick Keane: instead of doubting the science they will thwart the solution.

2015 is a momentous year in the story of climate change; never has the world been hotter and never has the Government of Australia done more to thwart action on Climate Change.

The Abbott Government has engaged in an unprecedented attack on renewable energy. …….

The answer is because the fossil fuel industry has married themselves to political interests and only death will them part. The Abbott Government, amongst others, provides a clear example of who – and what – stands in the road of action on climate change with their attacks on renewable energy……..,7969

July 24, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Labor pro nuclear heavies will keep pushing to overturn Labor’s anti nuclear policy

Gary Gray, the ALP’s shadow resources minister, is very clear on the importance of the Royal Gray,-GaryCommission as very much connected to Federal nuclear policy — even though the Commission pretends that it is only about the State of South Australia.

Gray and the other nuclear enthusiasts will continue to push for pro-nuclear changes to policy.

Labor veers towards the nuclear option,7965  21 July 15 The SA Nuclear Royal Commission, the ALP’s postponement of its National Conference nuclear debate and the machinations of the Nuclear For Climate Declaration could herald Australia’s deeper involvement in the nuclear industry, writes Noel Wauchope.

  21 July 2015, “……..These are e three events that coincide, but they are related to each other.

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAIN1. July 24: Closing date for Stage One submissions to SA Royal Commission on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle… … on the subject of ‘Storage and Disposal of Nuclear Wastes’ (for South Australia) We can be confident that the global nuclear lobby will have put in wonderful submissions proposing South Australia to lead the world in inviting in nuclear wastes and setting up the (as yet non-existent) “Generation IV” nuclear reactors.

2. July 24: ALP’s National Conference begins in Melbourne There was a plan to hold a vigourous debate on reversing the party’s anti-nuclear policy. Australia is contractually bound to take back the very small amounts of wastes that originated from the Lucas Heights research nuclear reactor. That is being used as a “foot in the door” for expanding our uranium industry and taking back more radioactive wastes, plus getting the promised (geewhiz!) Gen IV reactors.

In a last ditch move to avoid a possible uproar about this, Labor’s pro-nuclear push has pulled back from this plan. For the moment only, one suspects.

3. Signing of the Nuclear For Climate Declaration This was done by Australia’s Rob Parker, President of the Australian Nuclear Association, in Paris.  Continue reading

July 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Nuclear Royal Commission, politics | Leave a comment

Australian Labor Party needs a credible plan for climate change action

Shorten-unknownLabor must back up renewables target with a credible plan   Environment editor, The Age Amid the brutal political fight over the carbon tax it has been occasionally forgotten that Australians really like renewable energy.

Only on Tuesday a poll by Essential Media found 50 per cent of people thought the government should prioritise support for renewables over the coal industry. Just 6 per cent thought the opposite.

It appears Labor has been taking note. Hence the splashy commitment to have half of Australia’s large-scale power production coming from renewables by 2030.

It is an attempt to quell one of the Coalition’s strongest political attacks – that Labor will bring back a “carbon tax” in power. And it targets the Prime Minister’s apparent distaste for clean power (well wind farms at least) and public backing of coal.

Also on Labor’s side is science, which is demanding a rapid transition away from fossil fuels towards cleaner technologies if the planet is to have any chance of keeping global warming to relatively safe levels.

We have a long way to go to meet this goal. Just 13.5 per cent of our power came from renewables last year, and our current target will see a 23.5 per cent share by 2020 if it is met.

The ALP remains pledged to introducing an emissions trading scheme, a move the Coalition will attempt to tar with the carbon tax brush. But the hint is that Labor will use its renewable energy splash to adopt a softly softly approach on carbon pricing, at least until 2020. It could amend the Coalition’s Direct Action scheme to this end.

In the meantime it would have to send other signals to energy investors. The likely policy lever is to extend the existing renewable energy target scheme, which financially supports new projects.

Labor could also set limits on excess emissions coming from coal power plants, or simply ban old power stations, as countries like the United States and Canada are doing. And it could also beef-up efforts to cut energy use.

All these measures have costs and benefits. Meanwhile, many economists say the most economically efficient way to make the long-term transition to a cleaner energy mix is with a strong carbon price.

As ever, the devil will be in the detail.

The target is a push in the right direction. But Labor will have to back it up with a credible climate plan or risk it being seen as a vote grab.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Labor Leader Bill Shorten to announce 50% renewable energy target at Labor conference

Bill Shorten to unveil 50% renewable energy target at Labor conference, SMH  July 22, 2015  Chief political correspondent Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is set to unveil a bold climate policy goal requiring half of Australia’s large-scale energy production to be generated using renewable sources within 15 years.

Fairfax Media has learnt that despite Labor’s humiliating 2013 election defeat caused in part by voter contempt for its carbon tax, Mr Shorten will use this weekend’s ALP national conference in Melbourne to announce the even more ambitious goal, dramatically beefing up Labor’s renewable energy target.

The policy shift is designed to recover green support, sharpen the contrast with Prime Minister Tony Abbott over climate change and make global warming the defining battleground of the next federal election……….

The target of at least 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 is in contrast to Labor’s current platform, which is silent on the subject. Both sides of politics committed only to the current benchmark of a minimum 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy by 2020………

The Abbott government is yet to announce its post-2020 emissions reduction target but that is expected in August.

The Shorten approach follows a strong and well-co-ordinated campaign inside the ALP by a group calling itself the Environment Action Network and backing a “50/50″ campaign in favour of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

July 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Industry under attack, as Tony Abbott hacks into Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Abbott-destroys-renewablesAustralia Renewable Energy Gets Hacked & Attacked, Clean Technica July 21st, 2015 by  Originally published on Solar Love.

Australia is bathed in sunlight like few other places on earth. It, among all countries, has the highest potential to generate all the electricity it needs from renewable sources, principally the sun and wind.

But the prime minister doesn’t care about clean, renewable energy in Australia. All he cares about is doing the bidding of the wealthy coal owners who bought and paid for his election win in 2013. Since he took office, Australia’s investment in clean energy projects has fallen 70%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Government Says No to Solar Investment

Now Abbott has issued instructions to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) prohibiting it from investing in wind farms or small-scale solar projects. Opposition leaders and solar energy supporters say the government directive prohibiting CEFC from investing in rooftop solar will cripple the industry and further diminish Australia’s chances of transitioning to a clean energy economy.

“I don’t agree with the prime minister that if you just don’t have any government support for the future of renewable energy, that the renewable energy will just miraculously grow and increase in Australia,” opposition leader Bill Shorten told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He said that striking wind farms and rooftop solar from the CEFC will mean that “the only thing the CEFC can invest in is flying saucers.”

The Role of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Continue reading

July 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy, politics | Leave a comment

How federal govt changes to Clean Energy Finance Corporation will affect Australian househholds

solar-panels-localSolar panels: What do the federal government changes mean for households, SMH July 19, 2015  

Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has been told not to invest in rooftop solar. What does that mean for me?

The CEFC is the “green investment bank” set up by the Gillard Labor government that the Abbott government wants to scrap. It has been blocked in the Senate so instead it wants to narrow the CEFC’s mandate by blocking investment in “mature” technologies such as wind farms and solar panels.

The fund, though, exists mainly to find ways to boost the competitiveness of all renewable technologies, from large-scale solar plants to wave and geothermal sources, and energy-efficiency measures.

Earlier this month, for instance, the CEFC joined in a 12-year, $100 million venture with Origin. The energy giant will own, install and maintain solar PV systems for households and businesses. Customers get a fixed energy price for a longer term than would typically have been offered by banks.

 The fund is hoping to persuade Treasurer Joe Hockey to rescind the restrictions on its activities. According to Alan Pears, a senior industry fellow at RMIT University, the short-term impact of banning CEFC involvement in rooftop solar PV will be fewer creative financing options for getting solar power with no or low upfront costs. “In the longer term, it will slow the roll-out of more efficient, cheaper and smarter photovoltaicsystems and limit Australia’s potential to develop intellectual property for export.”

What is this large-scale solar we’re hearing about?………

July 22, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, solar | 1 Comment


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