Australian news, and some related international items

Small scale solar power for economy and democracy – theme for October 18

Solar power is now cheaper than retail electricity for millions of households. In the developed world, it can save countless homeowners tens of thousands of dollars.

Meanwhile, all across the developing world, solar power is actually cheaper than power generated from fossil fuels. Just as many people in the developing world leapfrogged from no phones to cell phones, these populations will leapfrog from no electricity to electricity from solar panels.

Democratizing the Energy System One of the major implications of solar power growth, electric vehicle growth and wind power growth to some extent (wind turbines are great additions to farms and small communities) is that they are essentially democratizing our energy system. They decentralize ownership and provide more societal power and more money to common citizens and small businesses. They create more energy independence and security for families, cities and nations, which I believe will ultimately contribute to greater peace in the world.


Also, there has got to be some positive psychological effect from people realizing that they are no longer burning the bones of dinosaurs (amongst other fossils!) for their energy needs, but are instead using renewable sources of energy such as sunlight and wind.


September 30, 2018 Posted by | Christina themes | 1 Comment

Australia large scale solar output breaks through 1GW on Sunday

 REneweconomy Giles Parkinson, 

That consistency of output is a key point – many solar tractors think that the output of solar farms peaks at around 12pm or 1pm and falls off rapidly after that.Most solar farms, thanks to single axis tracking technology, reach peak output around 9am, and stay around that level for six hours.

Sometimes they do better than that. The AEMO data shows, for instance, that the Bungala solar farm in South Australia reached 105.2MW at 8.05am grid time, (which is the same as Queensland time), and stayed there until 3.20pm.

…….In all, according to Clean Energy Regulator data, some 4,000MW of solar is completed, under construction, or has reached financial close. That should add to some of the mid-day negative pricing that were again observed in Queensland last week.
It should be noted that this data includes the NEM only. There are two operating solar farms in W.A.’s separate grid, and many smaller utility scale solar farms located in off-grid locations in W.A., Northern Territory and Queensland……….

October 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Flinders Ranges – planned area for nuclear waste dump – the most seismic active area in Australia

Paul Waldon Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA Conversation Starter · October 19  

I was at the meeting where the alleged reported claims from the Department of Industry, Innovation and science, geologist as saying that Hawker is seismically sound for the proposed radioactive dump, and all anyone heard him say to the public was “Hello.” (And yes I know hell is in hello).

However senior seismologist Johnathan Bathgate has reportedly claimed that the Flinders Ranges is the most seismic active area in Australia which maybe throwing doubt at the credibility of the DIIS’s geologist, and if he has any accreditation’s in seismology and why there are media release on the Modified Mercalli scale based at Hawker and yet we hear nothing on the scale of galileo’s, and though S&L-waves come with a guarantee of a seismic record, its known “P-waves” between the angles of 103 and 145 degrees can not be guaranteed on some seismograms.

October 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Australia’s Opal nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights – safety problems, needs lotsa money, (or better, shut it down)

Nuclear facility needs overhaul: report Oct 18

An independent report has recommended that the federal government’s nuclear medical facility at southern Sydney be replaced or rebuilt due to safety concerns. The federal government’s nuclear medical facility at Lucas Heights in Sydney should be replaced or rebuilt with contributions from the private sector, an independent report says.

The report, to be published on Monday, found there is a “make do and mend” culture at the facility and that it fails nuclear safety standards, The Australian reports.

In August 2017 a technician’s hands were contaminated through two pairs of gloves after he dropped a vial at the Lucas Heights medical facility, putting him at a higher risk of cancer.

The incident was the only safety failure in the world in 2017 that was rated by the International Atomic Energy Agency at a Level 3 or above. It was followed by three more incidents within the next 10 months.

“It should be noted that Level 3 events are regarded as serious events in the nuclear industry and any additional events at this level may result in loss of confidence in the organisation,” the report says.

October 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, safety | Leave a comment

Climate change now firing up raging fight in Australia’s Morrison govt, after Wentworth byelection fiasco


Wentworth byelection backlash reignites tensions inside the Morrison government over climate policy, Canberra Times, By David Crowe & David Wroe, 21 October 2018 A ferocious voter backlash has inflamed the Morrison government’s internal row on climate change as Liberal MPs call for stronger policies to assure voters that Australia can meet the Paris agreement to cut carbon emissions.

The government is reeling from a savage swing in the Wentworth byelection, sparking renewed argument over decisions including a sudden shift in foreign policy on Israel, and deepening fears of a wipeout at the federal election due by May.

As Parliament resumes on Monday, the Liberal Party was on track to lose Wentworth to independent candidate Kerryn Phelps, with an update on Sunday night giving her almost 51 per cent of the vote.

Dr Phelps had a lead of 1626 votes in the update posted by the Australian Electoral Commission at 6.45pm on Sunday. Even the best postal vote scenario for the Liberal Party over coming days would still see the independent win Wentworth.

The result represents an extraordinary 18 per cent swing against the federal government, one of the biggest in Australian history, but the Australian Electoral Commission is yet to count thousands of postal votes that could favour Liberal candidate Dave Sharma.

Government ministers and backbenchers told Fairfax Media they believed one lesson from the Wentworth result was to develop a stronger message on cutting emissions in order to win back voters concerned about climate change.

“I think we will, by the time of the next election, have to have a more credible answer on how we meet our targets,” one minister said.

“I don’t think it’s viable to remain silent on this between now and the next election.”

Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman said the Liberal Party’s own research showed climate change and the removal of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister were the two biggest concerns for Wentworth voters……
The government believes the latest advice from the Energy Security Board is that generation from wind and solar will grow by 256 per cent over the next three years.  ……..

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg brushed aside suggestions the Morrison government needed to overhaul its climate policies, saying they were “settled” and were enough to “meet and beat” Australia emissions reduction pledges.

“It’s clearly an important issue for the people of Wentworth, but our policies have been settled for some time,” he told the Sky News.

An exit poll of 985 Wentworth voters commissioned by the left-leaning Australia Institute on Saturday found that climate action and replacing coal with renewable energy was the top issue that decided how they voted.

Among people who had abandoned the Liberal Party since the last election in 2016, the top reason why was the toppling of Mr Turnbull at 40 percent of voters, but climate change came second at 31 percent.

October 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg sticks to his pro fossil fuel guns

Wentworth won’t prompt climate rethink, says Frydenberg, Treasurer says government does not intend to ‘reduce emissions at the expense of people’s power bills’, Guardian  Katharine Murphy, political editor @murpharoo 21 Oct 2018 Josh Frydenberg has played down the need for a significant shift in the Morrison government’s stance on climate change before the next federal election after the strong protest vote in the seat of Wentworth.

October 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian govt abandons promotion for dubious climate group

Government ditches $10m promotion blitz amid Great Barrier Reef furore, Canberra Times, By Nicole Hasham, 21 October 2018 The Morrison government has abandoned plans for a $10 million campaign promoting the Great Barrier Reef’s promising future, after a public backlash over its failure to address climate change and protect the natural wonder.An eminent reef scientist has also slammed as “not scientifically credible” claims by a charity gifted $444 million for reef conservation efforts that it will “climate-proof” the tourism icon.

Fairfax Media has learned the government has scrapped the $10 million reef communication campaign outlined in this year’s federal budget.

The campaign would have sought to give the public hope that the reef can be saved and outlined action being taken to protect it, after devastating back-to-back coral bleaching events brought on by climate change.

The government had been skittish about the spending measure, as reported last month when it emerged the Department of the Environment and Energy instructed officials to avoid revealing its true price tag.

In response to questions from Fairfax Media, the department confirmed the campaign “is not going ahead”. ……..

A major report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this month warned that an average global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees would substantially and irrevocably damage the world’s coral reefs, and a 2 degree rise would virtually destroy them. The world is currently on track for a global temperature rise of 3 to 4 degrees by 2100.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is supported by corporations including those from the polluting fossil fuel industry. It does not lobby for emissions reduction, despite recognising that climate change is the biggest threat facing the reef…….

October 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

October 21 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Is Climate Science Denial Leading to Human Rights Violations, Asks Philippines Commission” • As climate change liability increasingly lands in courtrooms around the globe, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights is taking a different and unique approach, investigating climate change impacts as a human rights infringement. [DeSmog] Science and Technology: ¶ “Scientists Warn […]

via October 21 Energy News — geoharvey

October 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Algerians still suffering from French atomic legacy decades later

Beyond Nuclear International

Compensation scheme has aided very few people, as Saharan residents experience cancers, blindness and birth defects

By Johnny Magdaleno

Ahmed el-Hadj Hamadi was huddled into a building with the rest of his community by French soldiers early in the morning. They were instructed to lie down, close their eyes and cover their ears. He then remembers a sound like “the world coming to an end” and the windows turning white. A cord above their prone bodies swung erratically until the light bulb it held shattered.

“I thought it was the apocalypse. We all did,” he said. “We all thought we might die.” Later, the French military began tasking out labor to residents in the isolated desert region of Algeria. “They had built a kind of village at the explosion area, and even put animals in it,” Hamadi added. “After the blast we were sent out to gather all the rubbish…

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October 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Last Victim”

Beyond Nuclear International

Karipbek Kuyukov of Kazakhstan dedicates his life to ensuring that no one will ever again be afflicted by atomic bomb tests

By Linda Pentz Gunter

Karipbek Kuyukov, who will receive the 2018 Nuclear-Free Future Award for Education in October, likes to say: “I have no arms, but I join you in waving goodbye to nuclear weapons.”

Kuyukov was born in the small Kazakhstan village of Yegyndybulak, without arms, a result of his parents’ exposure to the Soviet atomic bomb tests. There were 456 of these in all, conducted between August 1949 and November 1989 at the Semipalatinsk test site — also known as The Polygon — just 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Kuyukov’s family home. 

Today, Kuyukov is his country’s foremost campaigner against any resumption of nuclear testing and also for justice for those afflicted by atomic tests, not only in Kazakhstan, but around the world. And he is…

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October 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wentworth election – a preview of climate change issue for Australia’s coming federal election


October 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Kiribati’s Anote Tong, (slighted by Minister Melissa Price says Australia must act on climate change

‘Not happy’: Australia must act on climate, says former Kiribati leader, Anote Tong, allegedly insulted by Australian minister, says inaction means Canberra risks losing its status in Pacific region, Guardian, Kate Lyons Sat 20 Oct 2018 

October 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics international | Leave a comment

Liberal Party moderates blame climate policy for Wentworth by-election debacle

Moderates blame climate policy for Wentworth by-election debacle THE AUSTRALIAN 21 Oct 18 GREG BROWN, Moderate Liberal MPs have urged Scott Morrison to take action on climate change and embrace the “broad church” of its voters after the mammoth swing in the Wentworth by-election.Trent Zimmerman, Jason Falinski and Tim Wilson — who represent blue-ribbon electorates that are affluent and socially progressive — say the government needs to do more to show it is serious about combating climate change and working to meet the Paris targets.

………..Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday said the government would not change its energy policy because of a loss in Wentworth.

Conservative NSW MPs Craig Kelly and Alex Hawke said the government should put a higher priority on reducing the price of electricity than lowering carbon emissions……..

October 21, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Wentworth wipe-out won’t shift Coalition on climate and energy — RenewEconomy

For the second time in two months, a long-held conservative seat is lost to an independent campaigning on climate and energy. But don’t expect the idiocy of the Coalition to stop. The post Wentworth wipe-out won’t shift Coalition on climate and energy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Wentworth wipe-out won’t shift Coalition on climate and energy — RenewEconomy

October 21, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tim Flannery now sees nuclear power as useless, except for nuclear weapons

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 20 Oct 18I note Tim Flannery’s words in the transcript. Listen to the pod cast below from the 21 minute mark to see how his position regarding nuclear has evolved – he talks about how solar and wind has become so cheap, so quickly, he talks about the Tesla battery, gearless wind turbines, how fantastic that South Australia is now coal free and that the only reason he can see why a country would fund nuclear these days is if they want to develop nuclear weapons...

Tim Flannery on climate catastrophe and his new book   Tim Flannery, head of the Climate Council, weighs in on this week’s IPPC report, the government’s greenhouse emissions report card, and discusses his new book Europe: a natural history

October 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change denial – this forms the Morrison government’s biggest economic problem?

The Morrison government’s biggest economic problem? Climate change denial, The Conversation, Judith Brett,  Emeritus Professor of Politics, La Trobe University, October 19, 2018   “…………. the heart of the problem, which is the inability of the Coalition to face the reality of climate change and its stubborn determination to live in a parallel universe of business as usual. It is climate change denial that is preventing the government from developing a coherent economic narrative. …..

Doubting the risks of climate change, opposing serious counter measures and believing in coal’s long-term future is an identity issue for many Coalition politicians.

As an identity issue, it is largely impervious to evidence, as we saw in government ministers’ hasty dismissal of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report – before they had even read it, one suspects. Identity issues are also resistant to the normal processes of bargaining and compromise with which many political conflicts are resolved. The National Energy Guarantee was the last of the government’s energy policies to founder on the suspicion that a market mechanism might damage coal. Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Clean Energy Target met the same fate.

So now, some members of the party of private enterprise and the free market, which argued for and oversaw the privatisation of most of Australia’s power utilities, are seriously advocating that the government develop a coal-fired power station. Barnaby Joyce has been at it again in recent weeks…….

To state the obvious, the stubborn commitment to coal is pulling the government’s economic policy towards the sort of state socialism it is supposed to abhor. No wonder it is having difficulty developing a coherent economic narrative.

Further, it is alienating the government, and the Liberal Party in particular, from its natural supporters in the business community. With the collapse of the NEG, the government has no energy policy to provide certainty to business and investors. The focus of the new minister for energy, Angus Taylor, has contracted to reducing power prices for consumers. Climate policy has been shifted back into the portfolio of the Minister for the Environment, separating energy from emissions and further demonstrating the identity denialism that distorts the government’s economic narrative. Faced with doubts about Australia’s capacity to meet its agreed to Paris targets, the government blithely sayswe are “on track”.
But most big business outside the fossil fuel industries is not in denial about the real risks of climate change, nor the imperatives of international action. Since Turnbull walked away from the NEG in a vain attempt to appease his critics and save his leadership, the Australian Industry Group and the Business Council of Australia have both been discussing ways to “go it alone” on emissions reduction……..

because climate policy has become an identity issue for some members of the Coalition, and they fight on it tooth and nail, is has been removed from the normal processes of policy formation.

No wonder the government can’t develop a coherent economic narrative.

October 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | 1 Comment