With “friends” like these…No Right Turn , NZ, March 10, 201 4 We like to regard Australia as a natural ally, our sibling-country which shares our outlook on the world. But it turns out they’ve been working behind our back to undermine our disarmament efforts:
The federal government led secret diplomatic efforts to frustrate a New Zealand-led push for nuclear disarmament, according to documents released under freedom of information laws……
So much for natural allies. But its also interesting that the US doesn’t feel it can lead the pro-bomb camp itself, and so dumped the job on one of its patsies. http://norightturn.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/with-friends-like-these.html
Here’s Why Warren Buffett Is Betting Big on Renewable Energy The Motley Fool, 9 Mar 14 Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy’s deals with SunPower and Siemens offer a look into a big renewable future. Vestas shouldn’t be ignored, either.
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett……..Buffett’s success is also his ability to acknowledge that sometimes things dochange and that new competitive advantages can and must be built. MidAmerican Energy has been doing just that for the past nine years, working with companies like Siemens (NYSE: SI), SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR), and Vestas (NASDAQOTH:VWDRY) to add renewable energy to its mix in a big way. Renewables are becoming a huge — and growing — part of Berkshire’s competitive advantage at MidAmerican. Let’s take a closer look at how these companies are all expanding in the surge of demand for renewable energy with Berkshire and beyond. Continue reading
Disruptive change is a constant feature of capitalism. Railways ran coaching inns out of business. Electricity did for gas lighting, which had replaced oil lights, which replaced whale oil. The economistJoseph Schumpeter called it “creative destruction”. We are on the crest of another technological tsunami.
The good news is that this wave will make the planet safer, and our children’s future more secure
Cheap batteries will revolutionise the renewable energy market Chris Huhne The Guardian, Monday 10 March 2014 The big power companies will struggle to keep up as a solution emerges to the problem of storing wind and solar power News this week, from opposite ends of the planet, that points to the convulsion of change about to hit the global economy.
The first report came from Palo Alto, California, headquarters of the Tesla electric car company. Tesla’s car produces no carbon emissions (so long as the electricity that charges its batteries is also low carbon). Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, announced it would invest in a $4bn-$5bn “gigafactory” doubling the world’sproduction of lithium-ion batteries. These power your mobile phone, but also Tesla’s high-end luxury electric cars. The objective is to cut battery prices by 30% in three years, and to halve them by 2020.
Since battery cost is the main obstacle to electric cars, this is potentially game-changing. Continue reading
Skin Cancer before Age 25 Increases Risk to Other Cancers HNGN, By Julie S | Mar 09, 2014 A new study found that young people who had non-melanoma skin cancer are more likely to develop the melanoma type and other cancers when they grow older.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancers in the United States with over two million diagnosed per year. To put it simply, one of five Americans develop it through their lifetime………Researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia, led by Professor Rodney Sinclair, studied the medical records of more than nine million people from various age groups. …….This study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.………http://www.hngn.com/articles/26109/20140309/skin-cancer-before-age-25-increases-risk-to-other-cancers.htm
The real reason to fight nuclear power has nothing to do with health risks,Quartz 9 Mar 4 By Chris Nelder ”……. Nuclear’s long goodbye The simple fact is that, at least in the US, the nuclear industry is dying a slow death. The announced closure of four major facilities in 2013 alone amount to 4,246 megawatts of nuclear capacity—enough to power 2.7 million homes for a year—that are being retired.
Even while the nuclear industry is able to externalize its costs for insurance (which are federally limited), loan guarantees (which are federally backstopped), decommissioning (which is pushed onto ratepayers) and waste handling (which is pushed onto taxpayers), it still lost. If it had to stand on its own and pay its full insurance costs like every other energy source, we could never build another nuclear plant in America, because no private investors would be willing to take that kind of risk. It’s hard to imagine how the economics could be more tilted in nuclear’s favor (although I’m sure its proponents have ideas on that).
The reason nuclear is dying is economics, not tribalism, as Shellenberger and Nordhaus claim. Continue reading
Fukushima still out of control February-2014 The World is at a critical crossroads. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation.
The crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war”. In the words of renowned novelist Haruki Murakami:
“This time no one dropped a bomb on us … We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.”
Nuclear radiation –which threatens life on planet earth– is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern. While the long-term repercussions of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are yet to be fully assessed, they are far more serious than those pertaining to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz1j4IHcsP4
Dennis Mathews. 8 Mar 14 ,The nuclear industry would have us believe that, economically speaking, the trade in uranium for nuclear weapons is a distortion of the uranium market (The Advertiser, 8/3/14). However, like any other commodity, the use of uranium has no relevance to the supply-demand equation and hence the market price.
When Australia sells its uranium as yellowcake into the world market the uranium physically ends up in a processing pool along with uranium from many other suppliers. Once in this pool it loses its identity, it is no longer possible to tell which atom of uranium came from Australia and which came from some other country.
Australian uranium then ends up in both nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons in countries such as Russia, UK, China, USA, India and France.
The nuclear industry would like us to believe that the nuclear weapons and nuclear power industries are unrelated. This is clearly a public relations exercise that defies economic and physical reality.
Santos fined after coal seam gas project contaminates aquifer ‘with uranium’ eguardian.com, Saturday 8 March 2014
NSW under pressure to break fast-tracking agreement after energy producer fined $1,500 for ‘pollution incident’ in the Pilliga The NSW government should tear up an agreement with Santos to fast-track a coal seam gas project after the energy producer was fined for contaminating an aquifer, reportedly with uranium, the state opposition says.
The Environment Protection Authority issued a $1,500 fine to Santos last month following the “pollution incident” at the company’s Narrabri Gas Field operations in the Pilliga in NSW’s northwest.
Fairfax Media reports that the aquifer was contaminated with uranium at levels 20 times higher than safe drinking water guidelines…….http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/08/santos-fined-coal-seam-gas-contaminates-aquifer-uranium
‘No fracking way’: delegation hits Canberra COLIN BETTLES http://www.farmweekly.com.au/news/agriculture/general/news/no-fracking-way-delegation-hits-canberra/2690278.aspx08 Mar, 2014 A NOVEL delegation of concerned community groups has backed the Australian Greens push to give farmers and private landholders greater legislative protection against potential damage from coal seam gas (CSG) mining and fracking The 15-member delegation descended on Parliament House in Canberra this week, holding meetings with 30 ministers and MPs to push their anti-mining views and call for more stringent regulations.
The group was pulled together by the Lock The Gate Alliance and i cluded amongst its members, farmers from Victoria, NSW and SA, an Anglican Minister with environmental concerns from the ACT, an eco-tourism manager from Queensland arrested for anti-CSG protests and traditional land holders from the WA Kimberley region and Gunnedah in NSW.
Their visit coincided with debate in the Senate this week on proposed legislation spearheaded by Green’s mining spokesperson and Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, to give landholders power of veto over mining on their land.
The Bill was defeated after the ALP and Coalition voted against it which Senator Waters said let down the Lock the Gate delegation.
“Right across our country, people are concerned about coal and gas threatening their land, water and climate and disgracefully landholders have no rights to stop the big mining companies from marching on to their land and doing whatever they want,” she said.
“Alarmingly shale gas is taking over Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia and the Greens are the only party standing up for landholders against this dangerous industry.
“The Liberal and National Senators didn’t even bother to participate in the Senate debate, even though rural communities are crying out for landholder rights.”
Lock The Gate Alliance national co-ordinator Phil Laird said while an invitation to meet with Prime Minister Tony Abbott was rejected, the delegation would hold talks with Environment Minister Greg Hunt and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, as well as Coalition, Greens and Labor members.
Best And Worst Case Scenarios for Ukraine Crisis: World Peace And Nuclear War Seth Baum,Huffington Post,7 Mar 14 “………..The best case scenario has the Ukraine crisis being resolved diplomatically through increased Russia-Europe cooperation, which would be a big step towards world peace. The worst case scenario has the crisis escalating into nuclear war between the United States and Russia, causing human extinction.
We cannot rule out the possibility of it ending in direct nuclear war……….
And now for the best case scenario. There is compelling reason to believe that the Ukraine crisis could end with the world being much safer and at peace than it was before the crisis, if certain steps are taken. Perhaps these steps could have been taken without the crisis. But the crisis has done an excellent job at focusing global attention on Ukraine and its challenges. Let no crisis go to waste.
A nuclear war could also occur inadvertently, i.e. when a false alarm is misinterpreted as real, and nuclear weapons are launched in what is believed to be a counterattack……….http://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-baum/best-and-worst-case-scena_b_4915315.html
IEA Dispels Abbott’s Renewable Energy Propaganda,CleanTechnica 7 Mar 14 One of the most depressing discussions I have ever had as editor of RenewEconomy was with a policy advisor for a state Coalition government. He started off by giving me a lecture about how his minister only acted on “evidence based information”, and then proceeded to quote some of the more outrageous nonsense published in the Murdoch media and some extremely marginal web-sites.
Perhaps, then, this person and all the other advisors who direct (or distort) energy policy at state and federal level with the conservative administrations should sit down and absorb the latest report by the International Energy Agency on the integration of wind and solar energy. It might reduce the ignorance and misinformation that is having a profound impact on renewable policy in Australia.
The IEA is a useful reference point. It is a highly conservative organization that was created after the 1970s gas crisis to ensure the continuation of energy supply. Continue reading
William Souder William Souder is the author of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, which was published in September 2012 on the 50th…
Sixty years ago, in the predawn hours of March 1, 1954, a Japanese tuna boat named Daigo Fukuryu Maru (“Lucky Dragon no. 5”) was fishing near the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific. Its engine off, the ship drifted silently on a glassy sea. Overhead, the stars illuminated a few wandering clouds. Suddenly a blinding wall of light appeared on the western horizon. As the crew rushed on deck, the light changed from white to yellow, and then to orange and finally a deep red—a monster light that continued to grow and rise into the sky. After a few minutes, the 99-ton ship lurched as a deafening roar passed over it…….
The test at Bikini Atoll that day—code named Castle Bravo—was of the first practical hydrogen bomb. A year and a half earlier, the United States had exploded the first hydrogen device, which was the size of a small building. …..
The crew would spend months being treated for radiation sickness in a Tokyo hospital. All but the radio operator Kuboyama eventually recovered, although many later suffered from liver and blood disorders.
The Castle Bravo incident caused international consternation. …….
A few years later, marine biologist and author Rachel Carson recounted Kuboyama’s death in the most sensational book of 1962: Silent Spring……
One of Carson’s challenges in writing Silent Spring was how to convince her readers of the then-novel idea that an unseen chemical contaminant that might be anywhere (or everywhere) might cause unanticipated collateral damage to ecosystems. She solved this problem by perceiving a parallel between pesticides and radiation. Invisible, ubiquitous, and accumulating in the tissues of living things over time, pesticides and radioactive fallout from nuclear testing were, Carson argued, the twin existential problems of the modern age……HTTP://THEBULLETIN.ORG/LINK-BETWEEN-CASTLE-BRAVO-AND-MODERN-ENVIRONMENTALISM
successive Australian governments have furthered the fiction that the Russian nuclear sector is secure and safe.
Australian Yellow cake fuels Ukrainian fires http://By Dave Sweeney , 6 Mar 14 As the deeply disturbing events unfolding in the Ukraine highlight troop mobilisations, sabre rattling and suppression of civilian critics are becoming the hallmarks of President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Australia, along with most Western nations, has condemned the Russian escalation and called for restraint and dialogue. Such a call is important but needs to be accompanied by action to ensure it penetrates the thick walls of the Kremlin.
One clear and potent action that Australia could take to amplify our diplomatic dissent with the posturing of both the Red Army and the Black Sea fleet would be to halt our fledgling yellowcake trade with Russia…….. Continue reading
No Contest in Fisher. 6th March 2014 Judging from the responses to a survey conducted by the Fisher Electoral Lobby, the contest for the seat of Fisher is a non-event. The sitting member Bob Such quickly responded to the questionnaire but after three weeks the Liberal Party candidate had not responded.
According to the spokesman for the Fisher Electoral Lobby, Dennis Matthews:
“It is inexplicable why the Liberal Party would smother the electorate of Fisher in posters yet not respond to a questionnaire from its constituents.”
The questions were fairly provocative and required that the candidates take a position on some contentious issues.
“Bob Such did not commit himself on some issues, claiming that there had not been sufficient debate about nuclear power or about an apology to Aboriginal People for past injustices, but at least he responded to all the questions” said Mr Matthews.
“Lack of accountability does not bode well for the electorate of Fisher.”
How does conservative money work on climate change? Daniel Lippman, E&E reporter ClimateWire: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Searching for a reason major climate change legislation hasn’t passed Congress yet?
You could do worse than start looking around Washington, D.C., with its endless think tanks, lobbying firms and trade groups, many of which have swung into action in the past to block such bills and stand ready to do so in the future.
A recent study published in the journal Climatic Change finds that much of the millions of dollars that funds these groups comes from secret sources, and a good portion of the rest is from publicity-shy conservative foundations and wealthy donors. Continue reading