Australian news, and some related international items

California’s rapid growth in homes’ solar pholtovoltaic energy

“This list shows undeniable solar growth in a diverse range of cities, debunking the common misconception that solar is only for the wealthy,” notes Stephen Torres, founder and managing director of PV
Solar Report. “Key to this diversification is third-party-owned solar, which makes solar affordable for a wider range of homeowners.”

California Residential Solar Market Has Grown 80% So Far This Year 27 June 2012 Thirteen cities helped the California residential solar market grow 80% so far this year, according to a new report from SunRun.

According to the report, the top cities reflect solar adoption in median-income communities rather than in the wealthiest areas of the state.

The high-growth cities were evaluated by percent growth through May 31 as compared to the same time frame last year. While solar adoption continues to surge in traditional solar hot beds like Fresno and Bakersfield, new solar leaders like Santa Clarita, Castaic and Palmdale are also leading the charge.

The top California cities for home solar installations were as follows:…… Continue reading

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New York City, Boston, Philadelphia – USA’s East coast facing fast sea level rise

US East Coast a ‘hot spot’ for sea level rise: study by Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent 26-Jun-12 Sea levels from Cape Hatteras to Cape Cod are rising at a faster pace
than anywhere on Earth, making coastal cities and wetlands in this densely-populated U.S. corridor possibly more vulnerable to flooding and damage, researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Climate change is causing higher sea levels around the world, as land-based glaciers like those on Greenland melt and slide into the oceans and as warming ocean water expands.

But seas don’t rise at the same rate, and for 600 miles along the U.S. Atlantic coast, the water is rising more rapidly than elsewhere on the globe, USGS scientists reported on Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. In this “hot spot” of rising sea levels, variations in ocean currents and sea water temperature and salinity push oceans upward along the
coastline, the scientists said.

It could have an impact on some of the biggest urban areas along and near the East Coast, including Boston, Providence, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Norfolk-Virginia Beach, especially when storm surges push water inland. Continue reading

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BHP buys more Olympic Dam licences Jun 27 2012  BHP Billiton has bought four exploration licences for areas in the Olympic Dam region in South Australia for $3 million.
BHP bought the licences, and five exploration licence applications, from mineral exploration company Copper Range, which had been reviewing its presence in the Olympic Dam region since the departure of a joint venture partner.
BHP is currently considering a massive expansion of its copper, gold and uranium mining operations at Olympic Dam.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear plant directors and auditors resign, moving to other lucrative Tepco jobs

VIDEO :  .    TEPCO directors quit with ‘golden parachute’, Radio Australia  28 June 2012, Directors and auditors at the Japanese operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant have used the company’s annual general meeting to resign. In theory, the TEPCO directors and auditors are doing so to take responsibility for last year’s disaster, but the ABC can confirm nearly half of those who have resigned will take up lucrative posts with other TEPCO group companies.

Some of the executives are also facing the biggest lawsuit in Japanese history – a $67 billion compensation claim from shareholders for what they describe as unforgivable negligence. Outside the company’s meeting on Wednesday, activists – most of them middle-aged women – handed out anti-nuclear leaflets to shareholders making their way in.

Among them was Yui Kimura, who bought TEPCO shares so she could attend and vote at meetings. She is one of 42 shareholders suing 27 company directors for failing to heed repeated warnings about the threat of a giant tsunami.
She is fighting for TEPCO to pay compensation for those affected by the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns.
About 100,000 Fukushima residents still cannot return home……

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The nuclear news week that was, in Australia

Court proceedings on Muckaty nuclear waste dump adjourned till end of year, or later, – elderly Aboriginal traditional landowners waiting – (till they die?)

Carbon tax system to start on July 1, estimated to help rather than hurt, financial status of lower and middle income earners.  But Tony Abbott revs up his rhetoric against it.

Lynas rare earths – Australian company still hampered in its Malaysian venture, but Malaysian govt has set new “flimsy”  condition sfor the project.  Meanwhile Lynas is pulling out of a similar venture in Africa.

International relations.  As Pacific Island nations pledge to renewable energy future, Australian govt quietly promotes nuclear energy for South East Asia.

Distributed solar energy already having its effect on Australia’s energy utilities. CSIRO report shows that it is not responsible for electricity price rises.

Julian Assange seeks asylum in Ecuador. Australia’s Foreign Minster Bob Carr gives mixed messages on whether Australian govt will help Assange. Carr denies knowledge of USA govt’s wishes to convict Assange of espionage.

Queensland Premier Newman intensifies his attack on renewable energy, particularly solar, breaking election promises.  Queensland to maintain its ban on uranium mining, despite pressure from Tony Abbott.

New South Wales  – govt entices Aborigines to get involved in the uranium business

Victoria. Cathy Oke, Greens candidate for upcoming by election,  campaigns for scrapping of Baillieu govt’s anti-wind power laws. Moves for community owned solar farm in Bacchus Marsh, and wind farm for Macedon Ranges

Western Australia.  Uranium nining development there is far from assured, still  many hurdles.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Extreme anti carbon tax claims by Tony Abbott’s campaign could lead to legal trouble

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has set up a hotline for members of the public to make complaints about misleading carbon tax claims.

Special Minister of State Gary Gray plans to visit the South Australian city of Whyalla on Sunday – a community Mr Abbott said would be “wiped off the map” because of the carbon pricing scheme….
The Government says more than $300 million is available to councils, community groups and charities to help offset the costs of the carbon tax.

Warning issued over anti-carbon tax posters ABC News, By chief parliamentary correspondent Simon Cullen June 27, 2012 Labor is warning small businesses against displaying the Coalition’s anti-carbon tax posters, saying they risk million-dollar fines if the information is found to be misleading.

The Coalition has sent the fliers to bakeries, butchers, dry cleaners and fruit shops just days before the carbon tax is due to take effect. Labor is warning businesses to be “very, very careful” about being part of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s campaign by displaying the posters in their shop fronts.

“Don’t allow him to drag you into his cynical scare campaign because the consequences of that are very serious,” Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury told Parliament. “If you do mislead your customers, then you could face fines of up to
$1.1 million.”……. Continue reading

June 27, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Carbon tax – in reality a small effect on prices, much less than when GST introduced

Carbon tax won’t hurt much but we don’t want to know, WA Today, Ross Gittins, June 27, 2012  “……Since the day he won the leadership of the opposition on the strength of his willingness to switch from supporting to opposing putting a price on carbon, Tony Abbott has been predicting the carbon tax would wreak devastation on the economy, wrecking industries and destroying jobs……

But with the carbon tax taking effect from Sunday, the moment of truth approaches. Soon enough it will become clear that, for consumers and the vast bulk of businesses, the dreaded carbon tax will have an effect much smaller than the GST.
The retail prices of electricity and gas will rise about 9 per cent, but the increases in other prices will be very small. Continue reading

June 27, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

VIDEO: Potential for another nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima

VIDEO   Experts warn of another disaster awaiting at Fukushima  Australian Broadcasting Corporation 7.30 report Broadcast: 25/06/2012 Reporter: Mark Willacy Japanese and US nuclear experts warn that another earthquake hitting Fukushima could spark a disaster worse than Chernobyl….

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy uneconomic, declining, and a dangerous distraction from action on climate change

The nuclear argument is a dangerous distraction that could direct resources and technical capacity away from more sensible responses. Nuclear power is certainly not a fast enough response to climate change. Even the pro-nuclear Switkoswki committee concluded that it would take 10 to 15 years to build one nuclear reactor. 

Nuclear energy is a dangerous distraction, The Drum, Professor Ian Lowe, 26 June 12,  No rational person without a financial interest in the industry would consider nuclear power for Australia. The only logical basis for contemplating its possible use arises from a recognition that climate change is a serious threat to our future.

At the turn of the century, nuclear power was seen as a failed technology. Originally touted as cheap, clean and safe, it was widely recognised as expensive, dirty and dangerous. The peak of installed nuclear power happened more than 20 years ago. Since then, cancellations and deferments have outnumbered new constructions. Continue reading

June 27, 2012 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Carbon tax will make Australians healthier, cutting health costs and also productivity losses

Health economists have evaluated the health benefits associated with emissions reductions in Europe, China, India and Britain, and the findings suggest improvements for health are available immediately – and can amount to billions of dollars saved annually from avoided ill health and productivity gains.

Carbon price’s health bonanza, The Age, Fiona Armstrong June 26, 2012 “………There is however an untold story of good news associated with this, the beginnings of our national emissions reduction strategy, which has been completely overlooked in government communications and in other commentary – and that is the improvements in public health and economic savings that accompany emissions reductions. For while there will indeed be climate benefits, they are far off in the future and will only be realised by a considerable ramping up of emissions reductions, far beyond a 5 per cent by 2020 target or a $23/tonne carbon price.

The health benefits however are available much sooner than that. Continue reading

June 27, 2012 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health | Leave a comment

Japanese Fukushima nuclear victims effectively unable to take legal action

Victims and lawyers in Japan say the dearth of nuclear-related suits reflects both a national mindset — a distaste for confrontation — and a stunted judicial system that doesn’t allow for class-action cases or punitive damages. Japanese speak of the court system as more likely to deliver frustration than vengeance, and jobless evacuees who urgentlyneed money have little appetite for long trials with uncertain outcomes.

Without the threat of legal action, ……”the state and companies can take advantage of victims.” 

Nuclear redress will never approximate lossesBy CHICO HARLAN, The Washington Post, 26 June 12, It was 15 months ago that the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant suffered three meltdowns and contaminated a broad circle of countryside and left hundreds of thousands of people without homes, jobs or both. But for all the damage and despair it wrought, the disaster so far has unfolded without one conventional element: a widespread and contentious legal fight by those who say they should be compensated for their losses.

Victims of the worst nuclear crisis in a quarter-century have filed roughly 20 lawsuits against Tokyo Electric Power Co., according to the utility. That compares with the several hundred suits filed against BP within weeks of the 2010 Gulf oil spill, including the near-finalized settlement of a class-action suit that will pay 120,000 plaintiffs upward of $7.8 billion. BP also paid out some $6.2 billion to victims via a neutral claims settlement process, administered by a lawyer appointed by the Obama administration. Continue reading

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Same old story of lousy uranium prices – no sign of improvement

Spot uranium price unchanged at $50.75/lb U3O8 in weak market, Washington (Platts)–26 Jun2012 The spot price for uranium was unchanged over the last week at about $50.75/lb U3O8, prompting one analyst to describe the market as”stuck” with few buyers or sellers anxious to make a deal.

TradeTech on Friday kept its weekly price at $50.75/lb, saying that spot uranium demand “continues to be dominated by highly price sensitive and discretionary demand, and while spot supplies are currently sufficient to meet demand [and] sellers are not actively seeking to push material to the market.”…

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Switch it off and pocket the carbon tax compensation.

30 simple ways to beat the carbon tax,TANYA HAABC  26 JUN 2012 Switch it off and pocket the carbon tax compensation. Catherine McAloon (ABC Local) The price on carbon begins on Sunday. While only the top carbon-emitting companies and organisations are affected by the $23 price tag on each tonne of carbon emitted, the cost will filter down to all of us through our electricity bills. At the same time electricity prices are set to increase due to increased infrastructure costs. Householders around Australia are bracing themselves for a double hit to the hip pocket. ……    To help those least able to cope with the energy price increases from the carbon tax, the government will provide a compensation and assistance package. This means clever Australians who find a way to cut their energy bills can pocket the compensation.

Here’s our list of 30 easy ways to cut your energy bills and keep your compo cash for more enjoyable activities.

Appliances ….. Cooking…… Gadgets…. Lighting…. Keeping warm…. Hot water…. Staying cool…. Stuff….

June 27, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Carbon Farming Initiative gives opportunities for farmers

Farmers warm to the carbon economy
By Leone KnightTuesday, 26 June  2012 Carbon Farming Initiative workshops have been held across western NSW workshops to assist landholders understand the Initiative. Topics included the Carbon Farming Initiative basics, research results, environmental plantings, credit schemes, the impact on farmers and more. There were speakers from CO2, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Australian Farm Institute, and the Central West CMA.

Chris Mitchell from CO2 say, “its an opportunity, ….. but farmers need to treat it like any other new crop or enterprise, it does take time, information and research”. Farmers, miners and accountants attended and while some say it is complex and hard to understand, they all agreed it is an opportunity.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Despite Victorian Government’s opposition, the wind energy industry hopes for a new wind farm

Wind farm hopes remain  June 26, 2012   A central Victorian renewable energy group says it will hold on for as long as it can, after its government contract runs out at the end of the month.

The Woodend Integrated Sustainable Energy Group has been pushing for a community-owned wind farm to be established in the Macedon Ranges. It erected a 60-metre high wind mast last year with a $50,000 State Government grant. The group’s president, Barry Mann, says the mast can remain in place until November 2014.

“We want to get to that point where we can reinvest money generated from clean energy, our best resource which is our wind, and put it back into other things like revegetation, Landcare type stuff, solar panels on sporting clubs and have a sustainability project,” he said.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Victoria, wind | | Leave a comment