Abbott government’s RET returns Australia to dark ages of energy production https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/59312, June 26, 2015
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.”
Solar boom raises doubts on power asset sale THE AUSTRALIAN< ROSS KELLY
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL JUNE 30, 2015 When bidders crunch the numbers on a looming $26 billion auction of Australian power assets in one of the world’s biggest privatisation of this year, they would do well to cast their eyes upward, to the tops of apartment blocks and factories.
Business for fitters of rooftop solar panels in eastern Australia is flourishing as more households and companies choose to generate their own power rather than relying entirely on electricity from the grid.While solar remains a small part of the nation’s energy mix, accounting for about 2 per cent of electricity output, the industry’s growth in recent years is casting a shadow over the impending auction of power assets in New South Wales.
Demand for solar power began stirring around eight years ago, when expensive upgrades to the grid jacked up electricity bills while rooftop-panel prices were falling. The market has continued to grow despite easing in late 2010, when the state government started slashing generous subsidies for people who sold solar power back into the grid.
Now, many expect a strong pick-up with the launch of new batteries from Tesla Motors and others capable of storing substantially higher amounts of solar energy for use after sundown — and at prices that are expected to fall more within the reach of ordinary households. Batteries with weaker storage capabilities have been around for some time, but stronger ones have tended to be prohibitively expensive.
“Whether it takes 12 months, two years or five years, I believe battery storage will become viable,” said Matt Vella, managing director of MPV Solar, which turns over $5 million a year installing panels in sun-soaked Sydney suburbs. “When it does, it’ll be as big for the energy market as the shift from the fixed-line telephone to mobile phones.”
New South Wales last week invited first-round bids for a long-term lease of 49 per cent of the government’s power-transmission network…….
The problem for bidders is this: How do you value the poles and wires that crisscross the state if demand for solar panels and storage batteries surges? A recent survey commissioned by Morgan Stanley found 2.4 million households in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia states were willing to spend up to $10,000 each on a solar-panel installation, including the batteries. There were 7.8 million households in Australia in 2006, a total projected to rise to at least 11.4 million by 2031, according to the most recent count by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The worry for grid owners is that cheaper storage devices will take more people off their networks more often, forcing a ramp-up in prices to cover costs. And the higher rates go, the more appealing solar panels and other energy-saving gizmos, such as low-voltage lights, look.
“That’s when people start talking about the death spiral,” said Clinton Wood, director of Lighthouse Infrastructure, a Melbourne-based fund manager with investments in solar power.
To be sure, the rooftop solar market has been unstable and influenced by government regulation, even on a continent with the highest amount of solar radiation per square meter. It is also unclear how soon companies such as Tesla can drive the cost of batteries low enough to appeal to a mass market. Tesla’s “power-wall” batteries, which were launched in May and will be available later this year, will sell for as much as $4,500 and need to be integrated with solar panels and other devices. The cost of buying and installing the full package may be $26,000 or more.
The case for solar power is more clear-cut for businesses that use energy during the daytime. Sun Connect, which turns over tens of millions of dollars a year, decided three years ago to focus exclusively on the commercial market. Since then, the company says, revenue has tripled……..http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/wall-street-journal/solar-boom-raises-doubts-on-power-asset-sale/story-fnay3ubk-1227421384047
x-Treasury head Martin Parkinson takes swing at renewable energy target, SMH, June 30, Gareth Hutchens Former Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson has heavily criticised the Abbott government’s renewable energy target and Direct Action policies, saying they will be a far costlier way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than an emissions trading scheme………
The Senate passed legislation last week to cut Australia’s renewable energy target from 41,000 gigawatt hours of annual renewable energy production by 2020, to 33,000 gigawatt hours.
The Coalition and Labor reached agreement on the issue last month, ending more than 12 months of political deadlock.
Both major parties say the deal will provide certainty for the renewable energy sector, although critics say it will cut investment in renewable energy by about $5 billion.
Economist Warwick McKibbin, from the Australian National University, said the biggest problem with Direct Action is that you cannot use it to build momentum and “scale up” emissions reductions because it is funded via the budget……..http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/extreasury-head-martin-parkinson-takes-swing-at-renewable-energy-target-20150630-gi1npq.html
As June ends, Australians have just a few weeks in which to put in submissions to the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission. (Submissions due by 24 July and 3rd August) They’ve made it as difficult as they can – it’s complicated, and you have to sign before a JP etc. The nuclear lobby’s subtle spin implies that it’s for South Australians only – and the mainstream media goes along with that.
But wait! It’s OK if you happen to be an overseas nuclear company. Then you’re invited to submit – and – best of all – submissions from nuclear companies need not be published – they’re “commercially sensitive”
If you’re Aboriginal – no worries – the Commission will coach you, (like a fox coaching the chickens)
Through July please look on this website for guidance summaries and links for submitting, and for latest news.
NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE ROYAL COMMISSION NEWS
- Have your say for the future of South Australia – submissions close soon for the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
- Kevin Scarce, Nuclear Royal Commission chief, shows up in his true pro nuclear colours.
- Nuclear Royal Commission holds a second meeting at Coober Pedy.
- Commission doing a quick round of regional meetings then on July 8, off to USA and Canada
- Dr Timothy Stone should not be a Royal Commissioner: has financial interest in a nuclear company.
- Why Barry Brook should be removed from the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission.
LEGAL WIN for Australia’s nuclear veterans
Trans Pacific Partnership – putting Australia’s democracy in a noose.
Lynas Rare Earths shares at all-time low.
URANIUM. Pro Nuclear Expert John Carlson warns on selling uranium to India Rio Tinto fears that the uranium market will not pick up. The game is up for uranium miners ERA and Paladin?. Half of ERA’s board quits. It’s the end of big uranium mining projects in Australia.
ABORIGINAL ISSUES. Rallies across Australia protesting shutdowns of remote Aboriginal communities. Melbourne city’s hub stops as protestors rally. Aboriginal People Need A Treaty First– Forget constitutional recognition. British musician Antony Hegarty joins the Martu people in their struggle against uranium mining
RENEWABLE ENERGY. Weakened Renewable Energy Target legisation passed in Parliament : still, big economic benefits to regional communities, from new wind and solar farms. South West Victoria’s wind farm goes ahead General Electric ready to spend $billions on renewable energy in Australia. Wind farm research: Tony Abbott’s strategy to delay development by creating uncertainty.
A tiny paragraph on page 25 of the business section of The Age (print version 29/6/15) tells that Lynas shares have plunged. Meanwhile Alkane resources, near Dubbu, NSW, is launching mining of rare earths.
What The Age didn’t tell us, in this tiny paragraph – is what is happening about the reprocessing of these rare earths, and disposal of the highly radioactive wastes. . I’m pretty sure that in the case of Alkane – thi is to be done in China. China, having learned very much the hard way, has now become a lot more careful about these wastes.
In the case of Lynas, they plan to process the rare earths in Malaysia. Lynas has been vague on what they planned to do with the radioactive wastes. No wonder the Malaysians objected – as they too have in the past, suffered a rare earth’s wastes radioactive disaster. No wonder Lynas is struggling now.
Expert warns SA that uranium supply deal with India could end up in its nuclear weapons, Perth Now June 28, 2015 TORY SHEPHERD Sunday Mail (SA) SOUTH Australians should be concerned that uranium from their backyard could end up in Indian nuclear weapons, one of Australia’s top experts says.
John Carlson was director general of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, in the Department of Foreign Affairs, until 2010 and has held other posts on safeguarding radioactive elements.
Mr Carlson, who is pro-nuclear, told the Sunday Mail that the treaty being worked out for Australia to sell uranium to India was flimsy, and said South Australia’s people and companies should be concerned about where the state’s uranium ended up. ndia has huge demand for cheap energy, which Australian uranium can provide, but it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is developing weapons.
Mr Carlson said India had a history of disregarding commitments it had made, had refused to meet safety standards and “is actually increasing its nuclear arsenal”.
“This agreement is very different to all our other agreements. There’s much less detail in it. Only India, Pakistan and North Korea are producing weapons … you’d have to think this would be a watertight agreement (but) it’s very weak.
“I think there’s a reputational issue for the industry. There’s a problem for South Australian citizens.”…….http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/national/expert-warns-sa-that-uranium-supply-deal-with-india-could-end-up-in-its-nuclear-weapons/story-fnii5yv8-1227418016005
Breast Cancer Rates Skyrocket Near Nuclear Power Plants http://naturalsociety.com/breast-cancer-rates-skyrocket-near-nuclear-power-plants/ by Robert Harrington
June 26, 2015 Rates as much as 5x higher A scientific research paper in Great Britain asserted that breast cancer rates increased to 5x the normal rate for women who lived near one of three nuclear power plants that they studied. The two others nuclear power plants doubled the incidence for those women living downwind from the reactors.
For decades the American public has been assured that there is very little chance that nuclear radiation escapes from the normal operation of a nuclear power plant. Yes, there may be catastrophic mishaps like Three Mile Island, or Chernobyl, or Fukushima, but absent those once-in-a-decade nuclear disasters, the people living near these plants have nothing to worry about … until now.
“Women living downwind from nuclear power plants are at five times greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts have warned.” 
The entire nuclear power industry was launched on the premise that they could be constructed so as to safely contain any and all radiation. Because so many nuclear reactors are relatively close to populated areas, this assumption was key to the promotion of nuclear power generation. If radionuclides could easily escape, then the whole business model and engineering paradigm would be fatally flawed.
“Other forms of cancer showing elevated levels included prostate, leukemia, mesothelioma and pancreas.” 
Scientific studies, such as this one conducted by Dr. Chris Busby, are rarely undertaken because the Nuclear Energy Industry would rather not know the true statistics. Were the facts surrounding nuclear discharges to become known to the general public there would be a groundswell of opposition to nuclear power plant sitings anywhere near densely populated areas. Continue reading
Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein in climate change battle, Guardian, Rosie Scammell, 28 June 15 Social activist ‘surprised but delighted’ to join top cardinal in high-level environment conference at the Vatican She is one of the world’s most high-profile social activists and a ferocious critic of 21st-century capitalism. He is one of the pope’s most senior aides and a professor of climate change economics. But this week the secular radical will join forces with the Catholic cardinal in the latest move by Pope Francis to shift the debate on global warming.
Naomi Klein and Cardinal Peter Turkson are to lead a high-level conference on the environment, bringing together churchmen, scientists and activists to debate climate change action. Klein, who campaigns for an overhaul of the global financial system to tackle climate change, told the Observer she was surprised but delighted to receive the invitation from Turkson’s office.
“The fact that they invited me indicates they’re not backing down from the fight. A lot of people have patted the pope on the head, but said he’s wrong on the economics. I think he’s right on the economics,” she said, referring to Pope Francis’s recent publication of an encyclical on the environment. Continue reading
Australian 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:…… http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-29/australian-climate-roundtable-business-unions-policy-alliance/6579106
Critics of the TPP recognise it is not so much aimed at promoting free trade but more at limiting government rights to deal with present and emerging problems, especially those associated with climate change and the environment. The TPP and the bilateral FTAs are seen as a sham, designed to facilitate the growth of the corporate state at the expense of the welfare state.
The vehicle for this rollback is the section dealing with Investor-State Dispute Settlement. The ISDS rules, administered by secret, ad hoc tribunals – whose members may alternate between judging disputes and advocating on behalf of corporations seeking compensation for future losses resulting from legislative change or court decisions – trump local democracy and law, according to the Chief Justice of the High Court…..
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is bad for Australia. SMH June 29, 2015 Kenneth Davidson Senior columnist at The Age The Productivity Commission appears to have tried to convince the government not to put Australia’s head into a noose via the TPP.
President Barack Obama now has the authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement without Congressional interference. The Abbott government is reluctant to challenge even the most odious provisions of the agreement, which pretends to be a regional trade pact involving the US and 11 other countries. It is in fact a push for US regional dominance with particular relevance to its rivalry with China. Continue reading
2014 a record-breaking year for renewables — except Australia of course, Independent Australia Anthony M Horton 26 June 2015 The latest REPN report shows renewable energy is now indisputably the world’s new economic powerhouse. Dr Anthony M Hortonwarns Abbott that Australia will be left behind in the wake.
The latest report from the Renewable Energy Policy Network (REPN) released 18 June 2015 has shown that 2014 was a record breaking year for renewable energy around the globe (but not in Australia).
New investment exceeded US$300 billion, and renewables now contribute nearly 28 per cent of generating capacity.
Solar PV capacity has increased 48 fold over the last decade and wind capacity has increased 8 fold. In contrast to these remarkable growth figures, Australia continues to languish with investment and jobs in the renewable sector slashed as a result of ongoing RET reviews.
Renewable energy is now regarded as the new economic powerhouse around the world and is attracting investment and providing employment. It is now increasingly likely that those countries that embrace this renewable “wave” are going to leave those that don’t in their wake…………….https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/2014-a-record-breaking-year-for-renewables–except-australia-of-course,7864
Pentagon Legalizes Killing Journalists As ‘Law Of War’http://www.mintpressnews.com/pentagon-legalizes-killing-journalists-as-law-of-war/206990/?utm_content=buffer5e853&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Jackson Marciana for Counter Current News | June 25, 2015 The Pentagon just changed the rules of war to include legitimizing the killing of any journalists they deem “belligerent.”
The new “laws of war” were released as part of a book of instructions on legitimate warfare practices approved by the United States military.
This “rule book” of sorts details what the US government deems the acceptable ways of killing those they claim are the “enemy”… including journalists whose reporting they do not approve. Continue reading
A legal judgment in Australia has fatally damaged the ‘official’ ICRP model of health damage by nuclear radiation, writes Chris Busby – reflecting the fact that cancer originates through the mutation of individual cells, not whole organs or organisms. The ruling is good news for Britain’s bomb test veterans whose day in court is coming up; and for all who suffer radiation induced cancers.
At the end of last month the Veterans Appeals Tribunal Decision on the CaseJean Mahoney vs. Australian Repatriation Commission was published.
The result was a win for the appellant, setting aside of the earlier Australian government decision not to grant a pension to the widow of a veteran who worked among the ruins of Hiroshima and later died from metastatic colon cancer.
I was the expert witness in this case and persuaded the Australian Tribunal (in an expert report and with oral cross examination by telephone, Brisbane to Riga) that the radiation risk model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) was not applicable to the kind of internal exposure to radioactive particles which her late husband, George Mahoney will have received. Continue reading
Federal regulators hear Utah testimony on depleted uranium By Amy Joi O’Donoghue, Deseret News, June 25 2015 “…………The NRC is proposing to adopt a rule that for the first time specifically addresses the disposal of the material, which is a waste stream generated from the enrichment process of uranium in the nuclear fuel cycle.
Depleted uranium poses unique disposal challenges because it does not hit its peak radioactivity until 2.1 million years, and actually grows more radioactive over time. In its disposal stage, however, depleted uranium contains radioactivity that falls under the lowest level classified by the federal government — that of class A — and is legally within limits on what can be buried in Utah at EnergySolutions’ Clive facility. Continue reading
Rio warns on uranium
Rio Tinto fears the uranium market will not pick up in the near term, as it defended walking away from the Ranger mine… (subscribers only)