Australian news, and some related international items

Waste from logging native forests is NOT renewable energy

Abbott government’s RET returns Australia to dark ages of energy production, June 26, 2015

 The Abbott government’s Renewable Energy Target legislation passed by the Senate this week means consumers will think they are buying so called “renewable energy” when it is actually generated from burning wood from unsustainable native forest logging.

The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance released this statement on June 23.

The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) has condemned today’s decision to make burning native forests eligible for Renewable Energy Certificates under the Renewable Energy Target.

“We are going back to using dirty medieval technology that pretends to be sustainable and clean”, said Jill Redwood of AFCA.

“In reality it will undermine real renewables like solar and wind. It will produce more emissions than burning coal and cause immense loss of ecosystems, wildlife and our greatest carbon stores. It’s hard to imagine a worse scenario.

“This is not about ‘waste’ from the forest floor, but is a deliberate waste of our forests. It is about financing the logging of forests as fuel for furnaces.

“The government has been doing grubby back room deals”, said Lorraine Bower from AFCA. “They have promised a Wind Farm Commissioner and tighter controls on wind power in return for the support of key cross bench senators for the wood ‘waste’ regulation.

“Perversely there is proven evidence that living near a biomass plant has major health risks, but none whatsoever have been found from living near a wind farm.”

“This regulation will simply prop up the dying and destructive native forest logging industry now that woodchips are out of favour with customers and the logging industry is 80% plantation based. To date electricity companies have undertaken not to sell ‘Dead Koala Power’. We will now do all we can to make sure people understand that they should steer clear of companies that sell it.”

“Government and UN agencies overseas are coming to the conclusion that this is not renewable energy’, said Redwood. “Investors and consumers are quickly consigning these polluting industries from the Dark Ages to the dustbin of history.”

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

Australia’s New Climate Roundtable

Communicationclimate-changeAustralian Climate Roundtable: Business, union, environmental, investor and welfare groups form unusual coalition on climate policy ABC News AM  By AM business editor Peter Ryan 28 June 15 An unprecedented alliance of business, union, environmental, investor and welfare groups has been formed to forge what it sees as urgent common ground on climate policy.

The highly unusual coalition — to be branded the Australian Climate Roundtable — comes as developed nations gear up for the Paris Climate Conference in December, where leaders will be under pressure to update their strategies for dealing with climate change.

While Australia’s main political parties support the international goal of limiting climate change to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the alliance warns the objective will require “deep global reductions”.

The high-profile members cover some influential employer and industry lobby groups, such as the Australian Industry (Ai) Group, the Business Council of Australia (BCA), the Australian Aluminium Council, the Energy Supply Association and the Investor Group on Climate Change.

They will be joined by groups at the opposite end of the political and economic spectrum — the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), WWF Australia, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the Climate Institute.

In a statement, the Roundtable warned emissions reductions on the necessary scale would require “substantial change “and present “significant challenges” in Australia and other developed nations……..

Outlining its goals, the group said the “ideal” climate policy taken to the Paris conference should:

  • be capable of achieving deep reductions in Australia’s net emissions;
  • provide confidence that targeted emissions reductions actually occur;
  • be based on the full range of climate risks;
  • be well designed, stable and internationally linked;
  • operate at least cost to the domestic economy; and
  • remain efficient as circumstances change and Australia’s emissions reduction goals evolve.

Highlighting the social risks of climate policy and climate change, the Roundtable said climate policy must also:……

June 28, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

As the world moves to renewable energy, Tony Abbott has tried to wreck development in Australia

Abbott-destroys-renewablesAbbott lets Australia slip behind as renewable energy advances, Canberra Times June 20, 2015 Allen Hicks

Most countries recognise the importance of new technology for its economic and environmental benefits. In the stage-managed, focus-grouped, world of politics, Tony Abbott’s description of wind power as “visually awful” provided a starkly honest insight into the thoughts of our nation’s leader.

While the vocal attack on wind farms and the renewable energy target generally were rounded on as being out of touch, few people seem to realise exactly how dangerous that thinking is, not only for the environment, but for our nation’s future economic prosperity.

Far from being at the crossroads on renewable energy, most of the world has moved on, embracing a range of technologies that provide sustainable, renewable, affordable power.

Wind power, which Abbott decried as awful and noisy, is not only a mature and proven technology, it is a major growth sector, with global installed capacity leaping 44 per cent in 2014 alone…….. Continue reading

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

Aboriginal People Need A Treaty First- Forget constitutional recognition

text Treaty

A fair go cannot be achieved without a Treaty.

A Treaty would be the basis upon which the sovereign Indigenous people of Australia and the Government could negotiate the terms of rights to land, minerals and resources and the self-governing of communities. It would be a binding agreement that would have sanctions that would deter breaches of the terms of the treaty.

Forget constitutional recognition. It’s not the best option. Let’s do Treaty and let’s do it highly-recommendedright.  Let’s out Australia’s racist past, its attempts at ethnic cleansing, its whitewashing of who did what. The post below comes from Yinarr Yarning: Life, Love, Laughing, Politics and People – the blog of Natalie Cromb.  It is re-posted here with Natalie’s kind permission.

Constitutional Recognition? Treaty First!

Between the Recognise campaign and Noel Pearson’s latest support for a conservative campaign for Declaration of Recognition, one thing is certain, constitutional recognition is on the agenda. Despite noted Indigenous support, these campaigns are looked upon with suspicion mainly because of the fact that the question remains over whether it would affect the sovereignty of Indigenous people, especially with respect to land rights.

In order to effect the changes suggested by the constitutional recognition campaigns, we would need to have a referendum. This would not be our first referendum. Continue reading

June 27, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Australian Liberal Party is urged, by farmers, to defeat climate denialism

climate-AustFarmers call on Liberals to snuff out internal push by climate sceptic conservatives, SMH, June 25, 2015  Political reporter Farmers are circulating an open letter calling on the Liberal Party to kill off an internal push to derail Australia making meaningful commitments at the upcoming Paris climate talks.

The letter, which describes farmers as being “on the front line of rising temperatures and more extreme weather”, urges the Liberals to resoundingly defeat a climate sceptic motion to be debated at its federal council meeting on Saturday……

June 25, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Wind farm research: Tony Abbott’s strategy to delay development by creating uncertainty

You don’t need to remove a policy to kill investment. You only need to make things uncertain

wind-farm-evil-1More research is good, but not if wind experts are told what to find, The Conversation,  , 24 June 15  “………..Research on this topic doesn’t exist in a political or economic vacuum. It is well established that renewable energy broadly, and wind turbines in particular, are matters of significant political debate.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week asserted that his intention when renegotiating the Renewable Energy Target was to “reduce the number of these things (wind turbines) that we are going to get in the future”, while his government is also considering appointing a “wind commissioner” to address complaints about the industry.

Meanwhile, key members of the Senate Committee – including John MadiganDavid LeyonhjelmBob DayChris Back, and Matthew Canavan – have used their positions to speak stridently against wind energy. Against this backdrop, is it really possible to pause the world to undertake entirely neutral research?

Telling researchers how to research

There are allegations that suggest the Senate Committee is less interested in truly independent, high-quality research than its members might claim, and is instead recommending to the NHMRC the researchers whose work they would like to see included in future assessments……..

we’ve had inquiry after inquiry into this topic – with no rigorous scientific process finding any evidence of a human health impact – Continue reading

June 24, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Australia’s Senate passes law to water down the Renewable Energy Target (RET)

Revised Renewable Energy Target Legislation Passes June 24, 2015 Legislation for a watered-down Renewable Energy Target (RET) was passed last night, ending nearly one and a half years of uncertainty for the Australian renewables sector.

The RET has now been officially slashed from 41,000 GWh to 33,000 GWh by 2020.

However, Australia’s Clean Energy Council says major renewable projects would now pick up pace; leading to $40 billion of investment and the creation of 15,200 jobs over the life of the RET, while helping to protect 20,000 current positions.

“While this has been a challenging process, and we are disappointed by the level of reduction of the target for large-scale renewable energy, the passage of this legislation provides the platform for a doubling of renewables over the next five years,” said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton.

“The legislation also removes the two-yearly reviews of the scheme and ensures no changes to the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is great news for thousands of people working in the rooftop solar and solar hot water sectors.”  Continue reading

June 24, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Prime Minister Abbott being manipulated by maverick extreme right wing Senators?

Cross bench starting make demands of Tony Abbott’s government NEWS.COM.AU JUNE 19, 2015 THE cross bench in the Senate has realised its power and is starting to roar. The problem for voters is the Government is listening.

The clutch of independents with minimalist primary votes and huge ambitions want attention to the mishmash of offbeat ideas and prejudices they hold dear.

And if Tony Abbott and his ministers want their support to overcome the combined Labor/Greens bloc, they will have to take some of them seriously. And it’s already happening.

Senators control Abbott

Here are a few of the causes the senators are championing and want action on:

WIND FARMS: Senator John Madigan wants an ombudsman to deal with the complaints against wind farms by those who live nearby. He says he’s not obsessed by the issue, it’s just he doesn’t believe the 25 scientific inquiries which have found the turbines are not health hazards. Prime Minister Abbott, who calls them ugly and noisy, is considering the appointment of a wind farm commissioner. He has not considered a similar appointment to deal with the many more complaints about coal seam gas………….

MORE GUNS: Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm supports same sex marriage. And he wants people to take their firearms to the weddings to help celebrate. After the Lindt Cafe tragedy he urged laws changed to allow Australians to tote more weaponry. “What happened in that cafe would have been most unlikely to have occurred in Florida, Texas, or Vermont, or Alaska in America, or perhaps even Switzerland as well” because “statistically speaking” some of the abducted customers would have been armed. Nobody in Parliament thinks this is a good idea.

GO NUCLEAR: South Australia’s Bob Day is another senator who thinks wind power is dangerous because of what he calls the “harrowing” effects on humans and animals. But he thinks atomic energy is a better proposition and wants Adelaide to build nuclear subs. “One of the major obstacles to Australia considering nuclear submarines has been the absence of a domestic nuclear industry,” fretted the man who considered turbines a threat.

June 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | 1 Comment

Controversial Senators Madigan, Lambie and Leyonhjelm now determining Australia’s Energy Policy?

It seems to be the case of the mad right wagging the tail of the ultra conservative dog on energy policies. Senators Madigan, Lambie and Leyonhjelm all hold controversial views about climate science and wind farms – all being advised by noted long-term anti-wind activists.

Parkinson-Report-Abbott promises to Do Something about wind turbines  By  on 18 June 2015    The fate of Australia’s renewable energy target – and the wind industry in particular – is once again in the balance, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised anti-wind cross-bench Senators that he would take action to restrict or monitor wind farms.

Legislation cutting the RET to 33,000GWh from 41,000GWh had been expected to pass the Senate this week, finally giving the industry some certainty to invest, albeit in a much reduced target.

But Abbott’s refusal to cut a deal with Labor over the controversial issue of native wood waste has seen him turn instead – as predicted two days ago – to the senators who have already decided – like Abbott – that wind farms are ugly, dangerous to health, not very effective, and possibly constitute an act of treason.

Abbott – whose opinions on wind farms have been shaped by advisors who do not accept the science of climate change and his one encounter with a single turbine on Rottnest Island – met with Senator David Leyonhjelm  and other cross-benchers this week.

He  told the environment minister Greg Hunt – who told a radio station this week that “I know what you mean” when told that a single turbine in his electorate was “ugly” – to draft a letter to the cross benchers, outlining his commitments to get tough on wind farms.

The letter, according the The Guardian, includes a promise to appoint a wind-farm “commissioner” to monitor and act on complaints, an “independent” scientific committee (perhaps like the Warburton RET review) to liase with the Senate inquiry, and an undertaking to act on the Senate inquiry’s recommendations. Continue reading

June 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) ‘determined’ not to fold

Environmental Defenders Office NT to stay open; other jurisdictions enter ‘caretaker’ mode following funding cuts  105.7 ABC Darwin  By Emilia Terzon “…. It’s a difficult time but we’re determined to stay open. We will not fold. We will stay open. Melissa Ballantyne, principal lawyer at EDO South Australia

In South Australia, the EDO office is preparing to enter caretaker mode on June 30. Melissa Ballantyne, the principal lawyer at EDO SA for nearly 10 years, said the office had no choice but to “downsize services”, but is still determined to find a benefactor or philanthropic funding.

“It’s a difficult time but we’re determined to stay open. We will not fold. We will stay open,” Ms Ballantyne said.

Caretaker mode will see the EDO SA office managed by an employed office coordinator one day a week, and will provide legal advice from volunteer lawyers. “It means we’ll be offering a very basic service in terms of lawyers providing advice,” Ms Ballantyne said.

Ms Ballantyne said EDO SA was the only environmental legal centre of its kind in the state, providing advice on everything from mining on Aboriginal land through to the controversial Olympic Dam expansion in recent years. “Since the funding cuts, it’s been difficult to do much casework,” Ms Ballantyne said.

June 20, 2015 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Independent Senators Glenn Lazarus and Ricky Muir support Renewable Energy

poster-renewables-rallyGlenn Lazarus accuses Government, Labor of ‘dirty deal’ over renewable energy target, ABC News By political correspondent Louise Yaxley ,19 June 15 Independent Queensland senator Glenn Lazarus has accused the Government and Labor of doing a “dirty deal” to reduce the renewable energy target.

The Coalition and Labor have agreed to a new target for renewable energy of 33,000 gigawatt hours down from the existing target of 41,000.

Senator Lazarus supports the higher target. “I cannot and will not be part of this dirty deal that reduces Australia’s renewable energy target (RET) and our country’s commitment to the renewable energy sector,” he told the Senate. “If the Abbott Government and the Opposition are successful in reducing Australia’s renewable energy target, Australia will become the first country in the world to reduce a RET. “I cannot and will not be part of this despicable act.”

Senator Lazarus said the Abbott Government’s reluctance to commit to the RET of 41,000 eroded confidence in the sector, which in turn caused a significant and sharp downturn of investment.

“I can only assume that political donations being made by rich, multi-national mining companies to the pockets of the Coalition is affecting the Federal Government’s decision making,” he said.

Victorian Ricky Muir was a supporter of the higher target, but said the issue dragged on so long while the two big parties negotiated that it had become much harder to achieve that figure. He is now backing the lower target Labor and the Coalition eventually agreed on. “Let’s get it through and restore investor confidence to an industry that employs thousands of people both in my state of Victoria and throughout Australia,” he told the Senate.”

June 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Northern Territory’s Environmental Defenders Office will stay open, despite federal funding cut

Environmental Defenders Office NT to stay open; other jurisdictions enter ‘caretaker’ mode following funding cuts   105.7 ABC Darwin  By Emilia Terzon The Northern Territory wing of the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) will stay open another year despite Federal Government funding cuts, after holding an Indigenous art auction and receiving an emergency grant.

The news comes as EDOs in other jurisdictions enter caretaker mode, following the loss of $10 million in funding for the nationwide network of environment-focused legal centres.

EDO NT lost $450,000 in funding following a 2013 announcement that EDOs across the country would be completely defunded by July 1, 2015.

Offices in northern Queensland and South Australia are now entering caretaker mode, while the Western Australia office also had its State Government funding entirely withdrawn last month. Continue reading

June 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Wind Farm Commissioner to investigate a Non Disease!

wind-farm-evil-1This Public Health Expert Has A Hilarious Response To Our New National Windfarm Commissioner He’s not a fan. Jun. 18, 2015,  Mark Di Stefano BuzzFeed News Report, Australia

Australia’s national fear of windfarms is being taken up a notch, with reports the government will appoint a “national windfarm commissioner” to deal with health complaints caused by wind turbines.

So BuzzFeed News asked one of Australia’s top public health experts for his immediate reaction to the news:
“This will be a world first commissioner for a non-disease. It’s like having a commissioner into reports of leprechauns,” said Sydney University’s Professor Simon Chapman.

“Is it going to be somebody who is qualified to diagnose medical issues? If so, they’re going to have a hard time doing their job.”Guardian Australia revealed the government will appoint the commissioner as part of a deal with cross-bench MPs on renewable energy.

It comes just a week after prime minister Tony Abbott said he acknowledged the health effects of wind turbines and described wind farms as “visually awful”.

Professor Chapman is from the school of public health at the University of Sydney and has published nearly 500 articles in peer reviewed journals. He echoed the thoughts of scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki who called the comments embarrassing.

“Wind turbine syndrome has never been diagnosed anywhere in the world. There is no medical case report of it anywhere in the world,” said Professor Chapman. “If you trace it back it goes back to not liking wind turbines, or people who have classic problems like sleep problems and they are trying to attribute their condition to something.”……

June 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, wind | Leave a comment

Abbott deliberately slowing debate, to undermine wind energy – Senator Milne

Milne,-Christine-13Glenn Lazarus accuses Government, Labor of ‘dirty deal’ over renewable energy target, ABC News  By political correspondent Louise Yaxley ,19 June 15 

“……Greens senator Christine Milne said it would not mean certainty. “You just have to look at the Prime Minister’s words,” she said. “He said that the reason the RET is 33,000 gigawatt hours is not that he wants to give certainty to the renewable energy industry.

“No. It is 33,000 gigawatt hours because he could not get it any lower. “That is as low as he could go in this Senate, but he will go lower if he can.

“In terms of whether it means more wind turbines, what did the Prime Minister say? He can’t stand them. There are too many of them. He does not want to see any more of them. But he spoke to the loggers at their dinner and said he thinks they are marvellous; they do a great job.

Slow debate attempting to undermine wind: Milne Senator Milne also accused the Government of slowing down debate on the bill to implement the new target.

“I’ll tell you why — it’s because out in the back rooms the crossbenchers are out there trying to stitch up an even worse deal with the Government,” she told the Upper House. “No doubt it’s an attempt to undermine wind.” Continue reading

June 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Senator Jacqui Lambie delights the Abbott govt, with her pro nuclear and anti-climate action call

Parkinson-Report-Coalition applauds Lambie’s climate denying, pro-nuclear rant  By  on 17 June 2015

The Abbott government has warmly applauded a speech by cross-bench Senator Jacqui Lambie, who on Wednesday dismissed the science of climate change, urged a major push to nuclear energy, and called for a bigger army to defend Australia.

The speech from Lambie was made in debate over the proposal to cut the renewable energy target to Lambie,-Jacqui33,000GWh from 41,000GWh. Lambie said it was excellent to cut the target, because renewable energy (other than hydro) could not support an industrialised economy.

Instead, she said, the only way for “cheap, decarbonised” power, was to push for nuclear energy. ”We have got to become world leaders in nuclear,” Lambie said.“You are worse than deluded. You are dangerously deluded … and you should be locked up, for helping enemies destroy our nation – if you think that wind energy will solve problems,” Lambie said.  Continue reading

June 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment


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