Australian news, and some related international items

Alternative G20 ‘People’s Summit’ in Brisbane 12 – 14 November

text-Please-NoteAustralia: Alternative G20 ‘People’s Summit’ planned for Brisbane, Asian Correspondent, By  Nov 04, 2014 An alternative G20 People’s Summit led by an indigenous people’s group will be held separately in Brisbane in response to the Coalition Government’s exclusion of climate change from the G20 Summit 2014 agenda. The three-day People’s Summit will take place on Nov. 12-14, ahead of the G20 leaders summit on Nov. 15-16.

While Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will welcome delegations of the G20 for talks on global economic issues and cooperation, climate activists and  civic groups will take to thestreets and other venues in Brisbane to highlight what is missing in the leaders’ summit agenda. The Brisbane Community Action Network – G20 (BrisCAN–G20) was created to question the policies enshrined in the free market ideologies of the G20. BrisCAN-G20 wants “to reframe public G20 discourse around issues that impact people, communities and environment; issues that are not addressed or have been ridden roughshod over by the G20 to date.”

Abbott argued that G20 is an economic summit, not a climate summit. He stands by his word, ignoring his disappointed European counterparts and US President Barack Obama.

In September this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted the UN Climate Summit in New York, but Abbott did not show. Managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, later noted that climate change should be discussed during the G20 Summit in Brisbane, but Abbott said the G20 is meant to focus primarily on economic growth. He said other issues would only clutter the issue and distract from the summit’s focus. Obama’s international adviser, Caroline Atkinson, also expressed disappointment and was reported to have said, “the idea that Abbott is preventing a discussion on climate change is laughable.”………

Abbott is a self-confessed climate sceptic. He already scrapped the carbon tax, and the nation’s renewable energy target is under threat……..

November 4, 2014 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear and climate news this week

a-cat-CANAs Australia’s media dutifully and thoroughly covered the Spring Racing Carnival, the news on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report just sort of slipped past us. ABC Radio National did give it  ago. Also I heard a rivetting ABC radio report on health impacts of climate change, from Dr Elizabeth Hanna. I have been unable to find that report. (Is the ABC censoring itself?) Anyway, even THE AUSTRALIAN was moved to publish something about Dr Hanna.

Meanwhile, the G20 summit will be on in Brisbane November 15-16. The military style security is already turning Brisbane into something of a police state. 

In deference to our climate denialist Prime Minister Abbott, Brisbane Airport Corporation has stopped a poster that was urging G20 members to discuss climate change.  Mustn’t have rude things like climate change mentioned, in this coal-exporting country!

The nuclear lobby is a bit hamstrung here, what with climate change being one of their main propaganda points. But that hasn’t stopped them promoting Small Modular Nuclear Reactors for Australia. (Yes, those are the ones that Westinghouse and Babcock got out of – declaring them uneconomic). In this promotion, Australia’s nuclear lobby, particularly Michael Angwin, aims to get rid of environmental law, arguing that nuclear power has no special dangers. Fukushima residents might not agree, and the insurance industry certainly doesn’t.

Uranium industry. Tony Abbott declared that Olympic Damn uranium mine expansion would go ahead, provide many jobs etc. But BHP certainly doesn’t think so, and has firmly mothballed that project.

Renewable Energy. despite well-founded fears about Abbott’s determination to smash the renewable energy industries, lots of good things are happening. Particularly interesting are the community energy initiatives.

Australian government’s ‘Direct Action’ policy. We’ll be hearing a lot more about this farcical project to hand out tax-payer money to the big polluting industries.


November 4, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Australia’s nuclear lobby’s aim to remove environmental protection laws

a-cat-CANAs the intergovernmental panel on climate change comes out with a compelling new report, Australia’s nuclear lobby renews its pressure for nuclear power.   Of course, Michael Angwin and the nuclear lobby are a bit handicapped in this. Australia’s Prime Minister, puppet of both the fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies, has gone all out to please Big Coal, by promoting climate change denialism.

It wouldn’t be good form for Angwin and co to now promote nu clear power as the cure for climate change – they wouldn’t want to naysay their puppet P.M. (They’ll keep the climate change argument for later, when they feel that it has become “politically correct” – that is – when Abbott has safely destroyed renewable energy and any real climate change action.)

Still, they can lay the groundwork, with  a lot of nonsense talk about Australia’s future energy needs. (Never mind that Australians are using less electricity, not more)

Part of the groundwork will be their goal to remove environmental protection – as evidenced in today’s call from Gary Johns in THE AUSTRALIAN, (strangely worded almost exactly as Michael Angwin’s letter in The Age today) : –

“……...The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, for example, states that the minister must not approve the construction or operation of a ­nuclear power plant. Such prohibition is unwarranted.

In its green paper, the Abbott government has promised to “review the current regulatory framework that governs nuclear and waste facilities to remove any duplication and streamline regulations”. This is not good enough. The ban on nuclear power must be lifted. These laws are based on old politics and old science. It is time that prohibition was repealed so all sources of power are on the table and assessed according o commercial and environmental risks..…”

Note the pretense here, that nuclear power’s environmental and commercial risks are no different from any other industries’

Tell that to the Japanese, and to the world’s insurance companies!

November 4, 2014 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Censorship of calls for climate change to be included in G20 agenda

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmBrisbane G20: Airport vetoes #onmyagenda climate change billboard, Brisbane Times November 3, 2014 senior reporter Brisbane Airport Corporation has vetoed a “political” billboard asking for climate change to be added to this month’s G20 conference.

The billboard – backed by nine national and international conservation groups – was planned for Brisbane International Airport.

A second billboard is being unveiled in Peel Street at South Brisbane on Monday.

The groups wanted world leaders and their delegates to see the billboard as they arrived in Brisbane. The #onmyagenda campaign encourages people to tweet G20 leaders asking them to include climate change as a stand-alone item on the G20 agenda.

Climate change issues have been on the agendas at eight previous eight G20 summits.

It is not on the agenda in Brisbane.


The decision comes as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Sunday released its most recent report on the impact of climate change.

The report found that the world must stop almost all greenhouse gas emissions through a phased elimination of fossil fuels by 2100 if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged companies to disinvest from fossil fuel-based industries.

In broad terms, the UN IPCC report finds there are “multiple pathways” available to keep global warming below two degrees.

All of these pathways require “substantial” cuts to greenhouse gas emissions over the next few decades, and “near zero” emissions by the end of the century, the report’s authors concluded.

BAC told Fairfax Media the billboards were rejected last Wednesday because they were  deemed to be “political”.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, Queensland | Leave a comment

Brisbane to enter a military lockdown for the G20?

Commandos and Black Hawk helicopters stage operations in Brisbane CBD as G20 security ramps up

By Francis Tapim G20 security preparations are ramping up in Brisbane, as commandos and Black Hawk helicopters flooded the Eagle Street Pier area in a counter-terrorism training operation last night.

Around 50 personnel dressed like commandos, armed with semi automatic rifles and wearing body armour staged the training exercise on Sunday.

Courier Mail photographer Marc Robertson stumbled on the operation, and said there were four helicopters “only a few feet from the buildings”.


“I counted about 50 blokes wearing paramilitary uniforms, combat pants, and wearing body armour carrying full automatic weapons,” he said.

“They are not wearing any insignia at all… there was a lot of action in amongst the buildings.

“There were guys with night vision goggles running around the boardwalk, it was obvious that it was a training exercise and it had been left until after midnight before any of this action took place.”

There was no official information about the operation, but Queensland police confirmed they had been assisting with traffic control for a G20 training exercise in the CBD.

Meanwhile, the RAAF said the public would notice increased activity in the skies over south-east Queensland in the lead-up to the summit.

It said fighter jets, Black Hawk helicopters and surveillance planes would increase patrols, and conduct training exercises. Commander of ADF support to the G20 Major General Stuart Smith said the training period would allow the military to sharpen their response skills.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, Queensland | Leave a comment

Soldiers and police gear up for the G20

G20 security: Soldiers man checkpoints in inner-Brisbane ahead of summit ABC News 4 Nov 14 By John Taylor Soldiers and police have begun stopping and searching vehicles going into G20 restricted zones in inner-Brisbane.

Checkpoints have been set up at Milton and Spring Hill to search for explosives and weapons, manned by military personnel who have served in war zones.


Major General Stuart Smith said the soldiers and police would be involved in the searches over the next fortnight, using high-tech latest equipment.

“You’ve got soldiers here that have got experience in Afghanistan doing high-profile search techniques and they’ve done specific rehearsals to build them up in cooperation with the police over the last few months,” he said………

More than 900 soldiers will be helping with security during G20 and have spent months training for every eventuality.

Barricades to go up as ‘countries take over hotels’

Barricades and fencing will begin appearing around Brisbane city from next week, G20 Assistant Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said………

At the weekend, two people were served with notices prohibiting them from the G20……..

On Sunday night dozens of soldiers with machine guns and body armour took part in an exercise in the CBD…….

November 4, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, Queensland | Leave a comment

BHP is firm on mothballing Olympic Dam uranium mine expansion

BHP offers little hope of revisiting Olympic Dam expansion The global miner shelved plans for the multi-billion-dollar expansion in 2012 after a year-long study.  MineWeb 03 Nov 2014 SYDNEY (REUTERS)  Expansion by BHP Billiton’s giant Olympic Dam mine in Australia, once considered among its prized growth assets, is off the agenda due to low metals prices and productivity inefficiencies, the company said on Friday.

BHP shelved plans for a multi-billion-dollar expansion of the copper, gold and uranium mine in 2012 after a year-long study, citing a need to reign in spending as the Australian mining boom started to fade.

Since then business leaders and politicians, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, have implored BHP to reconsider its decision, hoping to alleviate job losses caused by the exit of car manufacturing inAustralia.

But BHP has stood firm and on Friday reiterated its mothballing of expansion plans for Olympic Dam.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

The hole in the ozone layer remains huge, probably related to climate change


the reason why it was not healing more quickly was because the interaction between climate change and the ozone hole was complex. “The ozone hole itself is affecting the climate of Antarctica and Australia, and is being affected by it.

Ozone hole remains size of North America, Nasa data shows,  1 November 2014

Antarctic hole in protective layer of gas stands around same level as 2010, 2012 and 2013, but scientists say recovery is on track The Antarctic ozone hole, which was expected to reduce in size swiftly when manmade chlorine emissions were outlawed 27 years ago, is stubbornly remaining the size of North America, new data from Nasa suggests.

The hole in the thin layer of gas, which helps shield life on Earth from potentially harmful ultraviolet solar radiation that can cause skin cancers, grows and contracts throughout the year but reached its maximum extent on 9 September when monitors at the south pole showed it to cover 24.1m square km (9.3m sq miles). This is about 9% below the record maximum in 2000 but almost the same as in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Continue reading

November 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

7-14th November free Art Exhibition – Western Australia: ‘Reimagining Peace: the Art of Protest’

text-Please-NoteRe imagining Peace – the Art of Protest“……….This small website is then dedicated to a consideration of how we might  ‘Re-Imagine Peace’ and to ideas, opinions, commentary and creative ways in which we can reflect on not only the real consequences of wars in all times and places but query the use violence everywhere and anywhere as a ‘default’ mode when resolving conflicts and dealing with aggression…..”

As our contribution to the marking of one of the most terrible wars in human history we are holding two events which raise the issue of wars and violent conflict in all times and places and consider how we might re-imagine a world of ‘Peace’:

‘Reimagining Peace: the Art of Protest’ is a forthcoming FREE exhibition

 (POP UP Gallery WA Museum – Albany 7th-14th November)

local Albany (Western Australian) artists commenting on both the consequences of war and ways of envisaging ‘peace’.  Major themes explored in the exhibition and interpreted include:

Children and war, Peace activists and protestors,’Toying with war’, the Language of war, the Impact of War on the Environment and all living things, and Envisioning ‘Peace’.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

North Coast Energy Forum highlights practical successes in sustainable energy

Renewable energy ramps up, The Land  SHAN GOODWIN 04 Nov, 2014 HOPEFUL investors are lining up to get stake their claim in the burgeoning North Coast renewable energy scheme market.

The 2014 North Coast Energy Forum, held at Cabarita on the Tweed Coast last week, attracted 120 participants from industry, government and the community.

The forum follows last week’s coverage of the country’s first community-owned power retailer, which is on track to be buying, selling and investing in renewable energy in the Northern Rivers region by January 2016.

Issues such as how to create a social licence for the burgeoning bioenergy industry in the region were put under the spotlight at the event.

Forum convenor Mark Byrne said: “We are starting to see some real practical outcomes in the move towards a more sustainable energy system in this region. And it’s not just down to being the region with the second highest uptake of rooftop solar in Australia………

People interested in being part of any of these projects are encouraged to connect with the forum’s ongoing work via its website, or on social media

November 4, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Rough weather, waves, force shutdown of nuclear reactors

nuke-&-seaLNuclear reactors taken offline amid rough waters LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Both reactors at the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant in southwestern Michigan were taken offline amid rough waters on Lake Michigan. ……..

November 4, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cameco – another loss, after write-off of failed Global Laser uranium enrichment project

burial.uranium-industryUranium producer Cameco reports a third-quarter loss By Jim Brumm, November 3, 2014  “……..The Canadian uranium producer reported a third-quarter loss last week after writing off its $184 million investment in Global Laser, citing General Electric’s unexpected July cut in funding to “pace our investment in line with market.”

At the time Silex, the Australian owner of the laser technology, said GE responded “to worsening trading conditions in the global nuclear fuel markets, initially triggered by the events in Fukushima, Japan, in March 2011.”

“The market has declined more than 50 percent since” the Global Laser project started in 2007, GE spokesman Christopher White said in July without describing the measurement cited………

Cameco’s charge indicates a total Global Laser worth of $767 million and values GE’s 51 percent at $391 million. Hitachi, which owns the remaining 25 percent, hasn’t discussed a charge.

GE has declined to discuss the dollar value of the Global Laser charge it took against second-quarter earnings, but Nuclear Intelligence Weekly put the amount at $194 million. That would be 49.6 percent of the total value of GE’s Global Laser holdings as indicated by Cameco.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Plan to smash Aboriginal land rights , from Tony Abbott and Andrew Forrest

handsoffAbbott and Forrest’s assault on Indigenous land rights Independent Australia   Land Rights News – Northern Edition 31 October 2014, The iconic 1976 Land Rights Act is under attack like never before under the Abbott Government, writes former Fraser Liberal Government Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ian Viner AO QC (via Northern Land Council – Northern Edition).

WITH the Commonwealth Government’s push for 99-year leases, the Forrest Review’s call for Aboriginal land to be privatised so as to be bought and sold, and attacks upon the Northern Land Council in particular over their defence of traditional ownership and their responsibilities under the Land Rights Act, the iconic 1976 Land Rights Act is under threat like never before.

The whole framework and security of traditional Aboriginal land, protected by theLand Rights Act, is in danger of being subverted by Governments, bureaucracies and people who have no real understanding or sympathy for traditional communal land ownership.

99-year town leases turn traditional ownership upside down.

In reality, they put the Commonwealth back into ownership and control of traditional Aboriginal land like it was before the Land Rights Act was passed as if Aboriginal land had returned to reserve status under Commonwealth control………..

The Forrest Review recommendations make it plain that the objective of Commonwealth land tenure reform policies in the Northern Territory should be to smash traditional ownership by making Aboriginal land “tradeable and fungible” as it says in Chapter 8. History tells us that land grabberswill quickly move in and Aboriginal land will be traded away forever and Aboriginal people left on the fringe once again.

The real objective of Commonwealth policy should be to put the Aboriginal people in control of their own destiny for the next 99 years. Keeping Aboriginal land firmly under Aboriginal control is the only way for that to happen.

Northern Territory Aboriginal people should learn from Maori history in New Zealand………,7052

November 4, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Sweden’s biomass energy system could be applied in Australia

Hear-This-wayAUDIO The Swedish renewable energy model, ABC Radio National Ockham’s Razor 3 November 2014  Andrew Lang While discussion of renewable energy in Australia has largely focused on wind, solar and hydro for electricity generation, Sweden has opted for an economy-wide biomass-based system. Farmer Andrew Lang takes a look at the Swedish model and how it could be applied here. …….. Continue reading

November 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Scaleback of Renewable Energy Target will damage large wind farm businesses in South Australia

Snowtown wind farm operator Trustpower fears federal RET cut ABC News   2 Nov 2014 One of Australia’s biggest wind farm operators says investment in the sector will be threatened if the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is cut substantially.

Stage two of the nation’s second-largest wind farm was officially opened in South Australia on Sunday at a time when the Federal Government is keen to scale back the RET.

There are now 137 turbines dotting the Barunga and Hummocks Ranges across almost 30 kilometres of the state’s mid-north and capable of generating enough power for 180,000 properties.

The turbines are on the properties of 24 local landowners.

The wind farm’s operator Trustpower is worried future investments across Australia is under threat because the Federal Government is keen to scale back the legislated RET……..

The South Australian Government said other energy projects such as the $1.5 billion Ceres wind farm project on Yorke Peninsula would be adversely affected if the federal RET were cut.

November 4, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment