Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear and climate news in this election week


NUCLEAR and URANIUM Well, you’d be forgiven for thinking that no Australian political party is the slightest bit interested in nuclear and uranium issues.  However, there’s an underlying push in the Liberal Party to overturn Australia’s law against importing international nuclear wastes.  And some Labor heavies join in that push. The Liberal Coalition’s goals of weakening environmental regulation will of course impact on the uranium mining industry.   The Australian Greens remain steadfast – in both opposing these dirty and dangerous industries, and in promoting clean and practicable renewableenergy solutions.  Choose Nuclear Free is the place to go  For detailed analysis of party policies.

Both Liberal Coalition and Labor are hellbent on getting rid of  Scott Ludlam from the Senate.  That’s understandable. He is far too intelligent, far too articulate – and worse too ethical, too courteous.  The mad monk could well say of Ludlam – “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?”

CLIMATE.   Words almost fail me (you might be glad to know?) But Tony Abbot has abdicated from any pretense of action on climate change.  I don’t think he’s all that bright. He thinks that the environment, climate change, action etc, might be tacked on at the end of he economy, if there’s  a bit of spare money.  He has no concept of teh basic role of environment and climate underlying the economy.

By the way – Tony’s a Rhodes scholar. You might think that that means he’s really intelligent.  However – major criteria for Rhodes scholarship are not so much brains.  More emphasis is on ” fondness for and success in sports” and on ” instincts to lead”.  – i.e. desire To Be Topp


September 4, 2013 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australia’s election September 7 – nuclear power, uranium, and climate change


How do the parties stack up on nuclear power and uranium mining, uranium enrichment,, nuclear wastes?


How do they stack up on climate change?


September 4, 2013 Posted by | election 2013 | Leave a comment

Australian Greens will stand firm in the Senate – for carbon pricing, action on climate change

Milne,-Christine-13Christine Milne warns Greens must retain balance of power in Senate to block repeal of carbon tax ABC By Monique Ross 4 Sept 13, Greens leader Christine Milne has warned voters that unless her party retains the balance of power in the Senate, Tony Abbott may have free rein to “tear down carbon pricing mechanisms”.

The Opposition Leader has today reaffirmed his commitment to repealing the carbon price in favour of his Direct Action policy if he is elected to the top job. While Labor MPs have said they would block the move, Mr Abbott says that would be political suicide, and has repeatedly threatened to call a double dissolution election on the issue.

Senator Milne says the Greens are needed in the Senate to “stand firm against Tony Abbott” for the sake of the global environment. “If Tony Abbott has effective control of both houses, then he will be able to do as he likes,” she told ABC News 24’s Capital Hill.

“He will be able to tear down the carbon pricing mechanisms. He will be able to get rid of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Who knows what he would do to the environment.

“It is critical that the people who actually believe the science, who want this to be evidence-based policy, are there to argue it because Tony Abbott doesn’t believe in evidence-based policy. He thinks climate change is crap.”

Senator Milne rounded on Mr Abbott’s concession that his policy may not succeed in reaching Australia’s target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 5 per cent by 2020. “He has been able to get off the hook here. Nobody has really unpacked his Direct Action farce,” she said.

“Is he walking away from his 5 per cent reduction target? Greg Hunt says they’re not and Tony Abbott says they are.”

She did not let the Government off the hook either, saying that Greens Senators are needed to “keep Labor on track”.

“We will never support reducing action on climate change and as long as we’re there in balance of power, we will be able to shame Labor into standing up and holding the line,” she said.

“Otherwise who knows where they would go on this either.”

Earlier, Labor figures including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Environment Minister Mark Butler said the party would not give in to Mr Abbott’s push to repeal the carbon tax.

“Carbon pricing is fundamental to how you deal with climate change,” Mr Rudd said.

“Any alternative response to that is just intellectually dishonest.”

September 4, 2013 Posted by | election 2013 | Leave a comment

Carbon pricing: position of Liberal Coalition, Labor, and Greens

Hear-This-wayAUDIO:    Is carbon pricing key or ripe for abolition?     ABC radio,  3 Sep 2013″………MARK COLVIN: Fourteen-and-a-half million people are eligible to vote this Saturday and already, more than one and a half million of them have had their say, either through pre-poll booths or postal votes.

If the Coalition wins, Tony Abbott says he’ll have a mandate to abolish the carbon tax, and that Labor should recognise that. And he logo-election-Aust-13isn’t ruling out a double dissolution on it.  But the Climate Change Minister Mark Butler says Labor won’t cave in, and the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says pricing carbon is fundamental to dealing with climate change.

Chief political correspondent Sabra Lane…….

KEVIN RUDD: If every government took that position that he has taken, what’s the net consequence? The net consequence is that all governments would walk away from hard action on this, the planet would continue to endure global warming, and as a result, we’d provide a very uncertain future for our kids.

I think the contrast is very clear and reflects poor judgement.

SABRA LANE: He later accused Mr Abbott of walking away from the bipartisan commitment to cut CO2 emissions.

KEVIN RUDD: He’s not fair dinkum about climate change, and when yesterday he made it very explicit that he was walking away from his 5 per cent commitment if his so-called Direct Action farce did not work, then that says everything to everybody out there who follows these debates with any degree of closeness.

SABRA LANE: Tony Abbott’s often couched this election as a referendum on the carbon tax, saying if the Coalition wins he’ll consider it a mandate to scrap the tax.

But on RN (Radio National), the Climate Change Minister Mark Butler dismissed talk of mandates……..

KEVIN RUDD: Carbon pricing is fundamental to how you deal with climate change. Any alternative response to that is just intellectually dishonest…….

The Greens, meanwhile, are arguing for the status quo in the Senate. Its leader, Senator Christine Milne:

CHRISTINE MILNE: And Tony Abbott has now become so arrogant that he is assuming that he’s already got The Lodge. What he’s now coming after this week is control of the Senate as well, absolute power and control of both Houses of Parliament and the Liberal Party advertising is going in that direction.

And that’s why the Greens are standing firm saying if you don’t want Tony Abbott to have absolute power, then vote for The Greens in the Senate.

September 4, 2013 Posted by | election 2013 | Leave a comment

Fukushima No.4 fuel pool ‘perhaps the greatest threat humanity has ever faced’- Investment chief September 3rd, 2013

David Webb, Chief Executive Officer of Origin Investments AB (Sweden): I think we should keep in mind that TEPCO declared plants 1, 2 and 3 to be in cold shut-down. And of course we now know that was not the case. Other people were pointing out that the cores had melted down through the facility. We now know that is the case. […]

[…] the most dangerous thing is the cooling pool of Unit 4. Now it is terribly dangerous because the entire hot core of reactor 4 had been removed and put in this cooling pool shortly before the tsunami. […]


The entire area is weakened and there is a great risk of an aftershock. Now this pool contains something on the order of 400 kg of hot plutonium. So, the thing that people should be aware of is that TEPCO is going to begin attempting to remove these rods […]

The media coverage of the situation has been almost non-existent. The public must become engaged and the governments must become engaged because this is a global threat. […]

This is perhaps the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. […] the measures that the Japanese government is discussing at this point are not sufficient, I believe. Other governments must become engaged in this.

More about Webb here

September 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott abandons climate change action

frog boilingAs the world warms, Abbott goes backwards The Age 4 Sept 13, Like the anectodal frogs in a gradually heated pot of water, our would-be leaders seem inured to climate change. While the major economic blocs are moving to tougher carbon pricing regimes to cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, Australia’s contenders for government have shown little urgency on this issue during the federal election campaign.

Coalition leader Tony Abbott has just walked away from a long-term, albeit modest, bipartisan commitment to a 5 perAbbott-fiddling-global-warm cent reduction in the nation’s emissions from 2000 levels by 2020. He now promises only ”as much emission reduction as we can for the spending that we’ve budgeted”. That is not nearly enough, according to several independent analyses of the Coalition’s ”Direct Action” policy of taxpayer-funded payments to primary producers and industry to cut emissions.

Mr Abbott has shed any pretence that he sees emission cuts as a priority. Good governments, though, heed expert advice, and the advice from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, the World Meteorological Organisation and national scientific and climate research agencies around the world is clear…….

logo-election-Aust-13Draw the line in the Senate   Very few people know this, but legally you can vote both ways on the Senate ballot paper. In other words, instead of completing either option, voters can do both: the short-cut above-line and the more time-consuming below-line procedure. Below takes precedence, but if the vote is informal the above-line option comes into play.

September 4, 2013 Posted by | election 2013 | Leave a comment

Ice wall to stop nuclear leaks from Fukushima

highly-recommendedJapan to build $470M ice wall to prevent nuclear leaks$470m-ice-wall-to-prevent-nuclear-leaks/   4 Sept 13 The Japanese government announced Tuesday that it will spend $470 million on a subterranean ice wall and other steps in a desperate bid to stop leaks of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant after repeated failures by the plant’s operator.

 The decision is widely seen as an attempt to show that the nuclear accident won’t be a safety concern just days before the International Olympic Committee chooses among Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid as the host of the 2020 Olympics. The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has been leaking hundreds of tons of contaminated underground water into the sea since shortly after a massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami damaged the complex. Several leaks from tanks storing radioactive water in recent weeks have heightened the sense of crisis that the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., isn’t able to contain the problem. Continue reading

September 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Call to Greg Bickley, Liberal for Bendigo: are you a climate change denialist?

Greg Bickley is the Liberal candidate for Bendigo

Liberal-policy-1logo-election-Aust-13A real local would commit to renewable energy  By Ivan Kitt, Bendigo Sept. 4, 2013,
I would like to ask Greg Bickley if he actually believes that climate change is happening, or is he a sceptic like Tony Abbott and the majority of the Coalition?
Also, does he support the need for renewable energy?
This state once supported wind farms under the previous Labor government, but under Ted Baillieu this project was scrapped, and even with the recycling of Dennis Napthine he hasn’t made any substantial announcements on climate change or renewable energy, although I believe he has agreed to establishing them in his electorate.
If you consider yourself a local Mr Bickley then you should answer yes to these questions.
Because if you don’t then you are not fair dinkum in your promises to create jobs, ease unemployment, improve the economy and support the local community these project would cover all those areas.

And it would appear that you will be a puppet on a string following the party lines and you wouldn’t be a strong voice for the community, whereas Lisa Chesters has already aired her disapproval to the asylum set-up proposed by Labor.
It would be a case of Bendigo being short-changed again by the Coalition.

September 4, 2013 Posted by | election 2013 | Leave a comment

Uranium market goes even further down the drain, with no recovery in sight

fearuranium-oreMarket sources are not optimistic the spot U3O8 price will rebound in the near future. “You’ll see more sales that need to be done by year end and there will be more pressure on the sales side,” one market analyst said. “It doesn’t look encouraging for people who think prices will rebound” by December — it’s wishful thinking,” he said.

There has been no firm support since spot U3O8 prices dropped below $40/lb in June, the analyst said. “Some producer will have to announce either a delay in a [uranium mining] startup or that a major project will shut down production. There’s nothing else out there that would bolster the market,” he said.

Uranium spot price weakens further in the wake of low-priced deal Washington (Platts) Jim Ostroff,   Sep 2013/303  The spot price of uranium has dropped by about $1 in the past week to come in at about $34/lb, as a trading company’s deal last week to sell material that level continued to depress prices, market analysts said in interviews Tuesday.

The last time U3O8 spot prices were below the current average was November 14, 2005, when price publisher Ux Consulting reported a weekly price of $33.95/lb. The company did not begin to publish a daily Broker Average Price until 2009. The BAP is based on information from Evolution Markets and Numerco.

“Spot uranium supply continues to outstrip demand even as discretionary and utility demand step forward to take advantage of declining prices,” Continue reading

September 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Aboriginal body scathing about Abbott, and not keen on Labor, either

Peak Aboriginal organisation lashes Abbott and ticks off Labor BY:PATRICIA KARVELAS  From:The Australian  September 04, 2013  THE peak body representing Aborigines has criticised Tony Abbott for his lack of commitment to the organisation and failure to acknowledge the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in an evaluation of the major parties that was sent to its members.

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples questioned the major parties on their commitment to advancing the interests of Aborigines.

It says the ALP supported the UN declaration in April 2009, and in 2010 gave moral and financial support for the establishment of the congress, but “regrettably the ALP has yet to address the declaration to any meaningful extent”.

The congress said it was not aware of the Coalition having made any official announcements on the UN declaration or the rights of first peoples.



“The Coalition has not expressed support for representation and decision-making,” it said.

It noted that the Opposition Leader had instead made commitments to manage indigenous affairs from the portfolio of prime minister and cabinet, and to establish an indigenous advisory council headed by Warren Mundine. Continue reading

September 4, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, election 2013 | Leave a comment

Liberal candidate for Hume, Angus Taylor, tipped to fight against renewable energy

wind-farm-evil-1logo-election-Aust-13Controversial wind farm gets clean bill of health SMH, September 3, 2013 Peter Hannam “……….Opposition hopes  Lyn Jarvis, a member of the Bodangora Wind Turbine Awareness Group, said her community group remains opposed to the wind farm despite the NSW Health and Planning Assessment Commission’s findings.

Ms Jarvis said the commission had ignored an independent noise assessment by Steven Cooper, an acoustics technician that found the wind turbines would be harmful.

“It’s fallen on deaf ears,” she said. “We had 94 per cent of the submissions against the development.”

The group is pinning its hopes on the election of Liberal candidate for Hume, Angus Taylor, to help lead a pushback against renewable energy, particularly wind farms.

“Hopefully, he will pull the renewable energy credits and it won’t get built – or any wind farms won’t get built in inappropriate places,” Ms Jarvis said.

September 4, 2013 Posted by | election 2013, New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

Solar farm in ACT will be up and running in 2014, funding secured

solar-farmingpiggy-ban-renewablesRoyalla Solar Farm Secures Cash  4 Sept 13  The parties involved with the ACT’s Royalla Solar Farm have secured financial backing via ANZ and National Australia Bank.

The FRV Royalla Solar Farm will be constructed 23 kilometres south of Canberra’s centre.  Approximately 83,000 solar panels at the facility will generate enough electricity to supply the power needs of around 4,500 homes.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green has congratulated the companies involved with securing the backing.

“The financial backing is obviously welcome news for both FRV (Fotowatio Renewable Ventures) and Acciona who are working together to deliver the project,” he said. “The ACT Government’s Solar Auction has been a game-changer in supporting this new form of renewable energy at the lowest cost to consumers.”
Construction of the plant is due to be completed in 2014. Continue reading

September 4, 2013 Posted by | ACT, solar | Leave a comment

Ethics and Politics in Australia. about climate change

ethicsAustralia’s political climate: Three numbers ignored in this election Byron Smith ABC RELIGION AND ETHICS 3 SEP 2013. The national discussion concerning climate change in Australia has some curious blind spots. Despite having featured prominently in Australian federal politics ever since Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declared it to be “the great moral challenge of our generation” back in August 2007, at no point in the public debate have three crucial numbers been highlighted by either side of the political divide. Continue reading

September 4, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Research shows Australia’s record heat linked to human activity

globe-warmingHumans behind record Australian heat, research shows (good graphs)  SMH September 3, 2013  David Karoly and Sophie Lewis It’s official, the past 12 months have been the hottest in Australia for more than a hundred years.

Temperatures averaged across Australia between September 2012 and August 2013 were hotter than any year since good records began in 1910. The previous record was held by the 12-month period from February 2005 to January 2006.

The new record follows a suite of broken records following last year’s “angry summer”, including the hottest summer since records began. New weather records are being set all the time. Sometimes these are record cold temperatures, but more often in recent times these have been record hot temperatures. A common question is what is the human role, if any, in these records compared with natural variations of weather and climate?

The link between global warming and human causes has been firmly established over the last two decades. Continue reading

September 4, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

New South Wales Health and Planning Commission find wind farm no risk to health

Controversial wind farm gets clean bill of health SMH, September 3, 2013 Peter Hannam Carbon economy editor A controversial $200 million wind farm that divided a local community and drew opposition from a nearby maximum security jail has secured planning approval to proceed.

Infigen Energy’s 33 turbine wind farm planned for Bodangora, near Dubbo in central NSW, was approved by the state’s Planning Assessment Commission late last week with the ruling only made public on Monday.

In a potential setback to opposition at other proposed wind farm sites, the commission dismissed community concerns that noise from the turbines would affect their health. The commission said NSW Health “was very clear in its advice” that “there is no published scientific evidence to link wind turbines with adverse health effects”.

While NSW Health found that noise from the turbines “may cause some disturbance” to those living within 700 metres of the towers, it found the planned two-kilometre buffer zone to be “highly conservative” and “a very precautionary approach”.

The commission’s findings are “an important precedent” for the state, said Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney. They add to almost 20 other official reports, such as from the Victorian government in May, that examined wind farms and health, he said.

“All of them are consistent in saying that there is no good evidence that wind turbines directly cause health effects,” Professor Chapman said. The NSW government has been considering draft guidelines for wind farms for about two years, including rules for a two-kilometre setback. Such a range is applied in Victoria and claimed by the wind energy industry to be among the toughest anywhere.

Frank Boland, Infigen’s senior development manager for the 100-megawatt project, welcomed the commission’s ruling for the Bodangora site.

“It not only gives us comfort but also should give comfort to anyone who did have health concerns about the project,” Mr Boland said. “We don’t see any causal link between wind turbines and health, full stop.”

The NSW Health statement “is relevant to other states as well”, Mr Boland said, adding that its ruling could help secure planning approval for a similar-sized wind farm planned by Infigen at Flyers Creek, south of Orange, and for projects elsewhere……..

September 4, 2013 Posted by | New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment