Australian news, and some related international items

Australia well represented at Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, (though not by government)

logo-ICANGem Romuld ,Outreach Coordinator International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons- Australia    10 Dec 14   The Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons concluded last night. It went for two days after ICAN’s Civil Society Forum.
Aunty Sue Coleman-Haseldine was invited by the Austrian Government to speak about the impact of nuclear testing on Aboriginal land, culture and people, which she did brilliantly! She spoke to 600 people at the Civil Society Forum and then 158 governments and 1100 people at the Government Conference. The transcript is in here. The Australian delegation still did not acknowledge the consequences of nuclear testing in Australia, shame! Sue has been on ABC News Radio, Radio National and will be on NITV News on Thursday night.
The Conference saw many countries stand up and declare their support and readiness to take the next step and start negotiating an international treaty ban the bomb. The Austrian Government announced the “Austria pledge” to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”. Here is an article about the pledge from IPPNW. 
ICAN delivered a great statement to the Conference; ‘This is not a radical proposal. Indiscriminate weapons get banned. We have done it before with other weapon systems, including biological and chemical weapons’. You can read it here.  

You can find a lot of quotes from the various countries on twitter at #hinw14vienna or #goodbyenukes, if you want to get in on the details! There are lots of photos here.
ICAN Australia sent an open letter to Julie Bishop before the Conference, signed by 32 organisations, calling on the Australian Govt to support a NW treaty and remove any role for NW in Australia’s defence. The letter and list of endorsements is here. It was taken to Bishop’s office by Judy Blyth in Perth.
One step closer to banning the bomb!

December 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Australian Aboriginal atomic test survivor speaks at Vienna Conference

TRANSCRIPT  Speech by Sue Coleman-Haseldine – 8 December 2014 Rosemary Lester, who was originally going to speak here, became too ill to travel to Vienna. She sent me instead and said to “tell it as it is”.

I was born on Koonibba Aboriginal Mission in 1951. From east to west, Koonibba is in the middle of Australia but right down south where the desert meets the sea.

Atomic bomb tests began in the desert areas north of my birthplace in 1953 when I was two years old. First at Emu Fields and then Maralinga.

The area was picked because the British and Australian governments didn’t think our land was valuable. But Aboriginal people were still looking after and living off the land.

There are lots of different Aboriginal groups in Australia. For all of us our land is the basis of our culture. It is our supermarket for our food, our pharmacy for our medicine, our school and our church.

Aboriginal people have special places throughout Australia, including in the vast arid areas. Looking after these places is our religion.

Our old people remember the good life of hunting for wild game and collecting bush fruits. Life was healthy.

There were still Aboriginal people living and travelling this way in the Emu Field and Maralinga region when the bomb tests started.

The government was no good at ensuring everyone was safe.

Australia was even more racist then. At this time Aboriginal people did not even have the right to vote. The government really didn’t care what happened to Aboriginal people.

Many people died and became sick in the immediate test areas. So did the animals. We shouldn’t forget about the animals.

The first atomic bomb called “Totem 1” spread far and wide and there are lots of stories about the “black mist” it created, which killed, blinded and made people very sick.

The bomb tests continued for many years right until 1963. Big atomic tests that the British and Australian governments were proud of and then a whole lot of secret tests that the British did with plutonium.

These tests contaminated a huge area and everything in it but people hundreds of kilometres away were also impacted. This includes my family and the broader community where I live.

I remember older people talking about Nullabor dust storms. It was the fallout from the Maralinga tests.

We weren’t on ground zero, but the dust didn’t stay in one place. It went wherever the winds took it.

I noticed people dying of cancer, something that was new to us.

There’s a cemetery at Woomera which we call the children’s cemetery. It’s filled with children who died around the time of the tests. And these were just the non-Aboriginal children.

There’s no record of how many Aboriginal children died. The Aboriginals were not allowed to be buried in white cemeteries.

In 2006 I went to an Australian Nuclear Free Alliance meeting to learn more about radiation fallout. What I learnt devastated me. To find out that our bush foods were possibly contaminated was a real blow to me.

It was at these meetings I also learnt about other nuclear bombs. About other places where tests happened and also more about Japan during the war.

I also learnt that uranium mined in Australia was used in these weapons of destruction. To know that uranium from our country was devastating other countries and people was a horrible lesson for me. I decided to fight any kind of mining then.

There are too many cancer deaths in our Country. I believe it is caused from radiation contamination, but I can’t prove it. I think any kind of mining in our area would be digging up contaminated earth and sending it back to us on the north, north-west winds.

I am not the only one to notice the sickness and death that remains in this part of Australia. It doesn’t matter if you’re Aboriginal or not, or as I say Black, White or Brindle, everyone has a sad story about premature sickness and death in their families.

Cancer is the big one but it is also common for people to suffer from thyroid conditions. This is the case for myself and one of my granddaughters.

Fertility problems, still births, birth defects became more common at the time of the testing.

But even today we wonder if women have trouble because of the ongoing radiation in the area or genetic changes passed down through generations.

Not knowing the true impact of the nuclear tests causes a lot of anguish and we would like to have answers and hopefully find some solutions. We don’t want others to suffer as we have.

The bombs have destroyed a large part of Australia and despite several attempts it will never be safe or clean.

There are many Aboriginal people who cannot go back to their ancestral lands and their children and their children’s children and so on will never know the special religious places it contains.

Having whole displaced communities has also created confusion and conflict between Aboriginal groups. These are ongoing issues which cause stress and heartbreak. 

Thank you for listening about our situation in Australia. We are telling the story so that our history is not forgotten but also to create a better future for all people, all over the world.

This is why we want nuclear weapons permanently banned and the uranium that can create them left in the ground.  

If you love your own children and care for the children of the world, you will find the courage to stand up and say “enough”.

Always keeping in mind that the future forever belongs to the next generation.

December 10, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Pope Francis at Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons: nuclear deterrence not justidifiable

world-nuclear-weapons-freeThe Pope Says Nuclear Deterrence Is No Longer A Justifiable Doctrine  10 Dec 14 Mark Strauss Although the Catholic Church has always opposed nuclear weapons, the Vatican reluctantly acknowledged during the Cold War that mutual assured destruction was the best-worst option for averting catastrophe. Today, a dramatic declaration from Pope Francis reversed that position.

The message was delivered to some 800 delegates from more than 150 countries attending the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons: Continue reading

December 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tough scrutiny now needed on uranium deal between Australia and India

Doubts over uranium deal between Australia and India, The Age December 9, 2014 Daniel Flitton The treaty to sell uranium to India will face tough scrutiny after the former chief atomic watchdog warned the deal lacked safeguards to ensure Australia did not inadvertently fuel India’s nuclear bombs.

The treaties committee of Parliament must endorse the deal, signed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in September, before uranium exports can start.

But John Carlson, the former chief of Australia’s nuclear safeguards organisation, has told the committee India’s nuclear weapons program is expanding and has complex links to civilian reactors.

The warning is likely to rattle Labor’s lukewarm support for sales, the party having opposed uranium exports to India initially and scotched a Howard-era proposal……….

In a detailed submission to the committee, Mr Carlson said that  under the proposed deal Australia could not definitively track uranium used in India’s nuclear program and what happened subsequently to fuel reprocessed into plutonium.

Nor would Australia have the right to demand the return of uranium should the agreement be breached, as it can with 41 other countries covered by similar export deals.

India is estimated to have between 90 and 110 nuclear weapons and has refused to sign international disarmament treaties. Several Indian nuclear reactors are designated “dual use” for civilian energy and military needs.

The deal would not be the first on uranium to run afoul of the treaties committee, with the Russia deal held up almost two years over concerns that yellowcake could be diverted into nuclear weapons.

Labor MP Kelvin Thomson said the committee had received detailed submissions expressing concern not so much at the idea of supplying uranium to India but about the provisions of the agreement……..

several other submissions, including one from  Ron Walker, a former governor of the International Atomic Energy Agency, expressed concern.

The committee is expected to hold public hearings before reporting in February or March.

Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said last month that any exports to India must be with the highest possible level of safeguards.

Mr Carlson was in charge of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office for more than 20 years until 2010 and was criticised during that time by anti-nuclear campaigners for facilitating uranium exports.

He said there were good reasons for concluding a nuclear co-operation agreement with India, “but not this agreement”……..

December 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

The Maralinga radiation experiment – a scandal and a warning

book-Maralinga-Frank-WalkerThe 16,000 Australian service men involved in the tests were sworn to secrecy by ASIO agents under the threat of jail. The general population was made part a large secret experiment to see whether the human race could survive a nuclear attack.

This book is also a warning for the present. Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to create a nuclear waste dump in central Australia to bring in millions of dollars. The Australian people must be vigilant and active as our governments and politicians cannot be trusted.

Australia’s two decades as a radioactive laboratory, December 8, 2014 By Coral Wynter The British government, with the complicity of the Menzies government, used Australia as a laboratory to test the short and long-term effects of exposure to radioactivity.

Maralinga: The Chilling Expose of Our Secret Nuclear Shame & Betrayal of Our Troops & Country By Frank Walker Hachette, 2014

Frank Walker, who worked as a journalist for Australian and international publications for 38 years, was talking to his daughter’s university friends one day and discovered they had no idea atomic bombs had been exploded in Australia.

In fact, 12 had ― excluding the 300-600 minor trials at Maralinga, Emu Field, both in the South Australian desert, and Monte Bello Islands off the Western Australian coast.

Walker had been interviewing soldiers, navy and air force victims and decided to expose the veil of secrecy on their ghastly experiences.

The atomic tests began in 1952 and continued until 1957. However, minor trials with dirty radioactive clouds, and uranium and plutonium waste, did not stop until 1963.

The British government, with the total complicity of the then-Menzies government, used Australian land and people as a laboratory to test the short and long-term effects of exposure to radioactivity. Continue reading

December 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Australian governments’ sorry history of deception over India uranium deal, revealed by Wikileaks

India-uranium1Australia will now contribute to spreading nuclear weaponry as India will be able to use Australian-supplied uranium for civilian purposes and reserve its indigenous supplies for its nuclear weapons program.

Moreover, India has a poor nuclear safety record.

secret-dealsWikiLeaks exposes gov’t lies, shifts on India uranium deal, Green Left  December 8, 2014 By Linda Pearson Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed an agreement in September to allow sales of Australian uranium to India for the first time. Uranium sales were initially approved by then-Coalition PM John Howard in August 2007 but Howard’s successor, Kevin Rudd, reinstated the ban.

Rudd’s action was in accordance with long-standing Labor Party policy that uranium should only be sold to countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). A 2008 Lowy Institute poll found that 88% of Australians supported this policy.

By the end of 2011, however, Labor had switched to the Liberal Party’s position at the behest of Rudd’s successor, Julia Gillard.

As US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show, both parties were ultimately willing to change Australia’s long-standing nuclear policy to aid the Australian uranium industry and match strategic US objectives…………..

The US Embassy in Canberra regarded Rudd as a strong supporter of the US alliance. But there was concern over whether Labor’s nuclear policy would stop Australia supporting the US position at the NSG.

The cables show that pressure on the Rudd government to back the exemption came from the Australian High Commission in India as well as the US. They reveal how Labor’s official position on nuclear matters differed from the private views of individual members of the government.

This made the government’s support for the exemption and the party’s eventual approval of uranium sales in 2011 all but inevitable……………..

Secret support

The Rudd government’s public position before the NSG meeting in August 2008 was that it would consider the arguments on both sides and then decide whether to support the exemption. On July 24, 2008, Smith stuck to the official line during a joint interview with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying “we haven’t made a decision”.

However, the cables suggest the government had already decided to support the exemption……………

After several days of deliberation and more intense US lobbying, the NSG approved the exemption on September 6, 2008. A cable reported that Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, Marius Grinius, said “most NSG members ‘gave up’ and ‘joined the bandwagon’ rather than fully supporting a nuclear agreement with India”.…

The NSG decision opened the door to uranium sales to India. But while the Rudd government supported this exemption, its public position remained that Australia would not sell uranium to India unless it joined the NPT. On a visit to India shortly after the NSG decision, Smith said this policy “remains unaffected by the NSG decision”.

However, US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks suggest Labor leaders were already preparing to change its policy………………

[2009] According to another cable from Canberra, federal resources minister Martin Ferguson confirmed to US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich that the ALP’s policy could change.

Bleich wrote in November 2009 that in Ferguson’s view, “the recent expansion in uranium development in Australia reflected a shift in willingness to consider nuclear energy”.

Additionally, according to the cable, Ferguson had said that the Australian government might have to revisit the issue of nuclear energy if other technologies “failed to develop commercially quickly enough” for Australia to meet its “clean” energy goals.

Moreover, Ferguson had told Bleich that he had “personally supported the US-India nuclear agreement” and believed that “a deal to supply India with nuclear fuel could be reached in 3-5 years”.

These comments contradicted his party’s official position at the time, but Ferguson’s support for the uranium industry was no secret. He led efforts to overturn Labor’s three-mines policy at the party’s 2007 conference.

After his comments on India in this cable were divulged by Fairfax in February 2011, Ferguson side-stepped questions and repeated the official line, saying: “We will only supply uranium to countries that are signatories to the NPT and have signed a bilateral agreement with Australia.”

Corporate advice

US diplomats in Australia also consulted representatives of mining giant BHP for their views on the industry and the prospect of uranium sales to India.

In April 2009, a cable from the US Consulate in Melbourne reported that BHP manager for integrated planning Barry Hewlett had told the consul-general that “India represents a potentially massive market” for the uranium in BHP’s Olympic Dam mine.

However, in November 2009, another cable from the consulate in Melbourne reported comments by BHP CEO Marius Kloppers that suggested the renewed international nuclear cooperation with India permitted by the NSG waiver was more important to BHP than the Australian government’s position on uranium exports.

“As long as someone can sell to the Indians,” Klopper said, “the world market will continue to expand, which helps us.”

Ferguson’s prediction in relation to uranium sales turned out to be true. In November 2011, Gillard announced she would push for the ALP to change its policy at its December party conference.

Gillard’s decision was motivated in part by a desire to help the uranium industry recover from the effects of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Demand dropped in the wake of the disaster and the price of uranium plummeted.

Smith publicly backed Gillard ahead of the vote. Smith said Rudd also supported the policy change. With the help of Ferguson and Australian Workers Union head Paul Howes, Gillard was able to overcome the opposition from the party’s left and the conference voted narrowly to allow uranium sales to India.

The decision was not supported by the Australian public. A 2012 opinion poll by the Lowy institute found that 61% of Australians opposed uranium sales to India, with only 9% strongly in favour.

Nevertheless, the Gillard government began talks with India on a bilateral nuclear safeguards agreement in March last year, which were concluded by Tony Abbott in September.

India’s record

Both Labor and the Coalition claim India has an “impeccable” record on non-proliferation and therefore deserves an exemption from the rules that apply to other states. This is not true.

India’s new status as a “responsible nuclear state” is more a reflection of the power of the US to influence international bodies, like the NSG and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to do favours for its friends and punish its enemies.

India chose to stay outside the NPT so it would be free to develop nuclear weapons. India’s first nuclear test in 1974 was carried out using plutonium from a nuclear reactor supplied by Canada strictly for civilian purposes.

The US and Australia imposed sanctions on India after it carried out another series of nuclear tests during its escalating arms race with Pakistan in 1998.

Australia will now contribute to spreading nuclear weaponry as India will be able to use Australian-supplied uranium for civilian purposes and reserve its indigenous supplies for its nuclear weapons program.

Moreover, India has a poor nuclear safety record. In 2012, the country’s auditor-general warned that a Fukushima-like disaster could result from the absence of effective industry regulation…………..

December 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) survives and thrives

logo-ARENAARENA was set up in 2012 by the Gillard government to boost the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies in Australia, and to increase the supply of renewable energy
ARENA: the renewable energy agency, Government News,  by  on December 8, 2014. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) may be on death row but it is certainly not staggering like a man condemned.

Having announced $2 million funding for a renewable biomass project last week, ARENA’s CEO says the organisation has no intention of stopping any time soon.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced in the May budget that the government would axe the statutory organisation, grab its unallocated $1.3 billion project funding and roll any of its leftover functions into the Department of Industry.

Since then, the organisation — which can only be dismantled by repealing the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011 — has been fighting for its life.

Australia’s federal Lower House voted on September 1 to repeal the act and abolish ARENA, but the ensuing stalemate in the Senate has meant a stay of execution for the ardent champion of renewable energy.

Indeed while the government’s original plan might have been to eliminate  ARENA, expectations of its death now appear exaggerated. The body was granted a last minute reprieve after  Palmer United Party Senator Clive Palmer struck a deal with the government to retain ARENA; but to cut its project funding by $435 million – which also covers some of the organisation’s operating costs – and defer $370 million, in return for backing the carbon tax repeal.

Corman,-Matthias-monsterThe effect is that the public service now has what amounts to zombie agency: Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has made no bones about the fact he wants to see  ARENA  scrapped, he just doesn’t have the numbers in the Senate to do it.……………

When Government News spoke to ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht, he said the organisation was still firing on all cylinders.

“We still have the money. We are still accepting applications and making grant awards,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“We’re very much in business. Continue reading

December 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Germany’s model for transition from coal and nuclear to 100% renewable energy

logo-EnergiewendeThe international community has at its disposal more than sufficient renewable resources and the technical capabilities to sustainably harvest these sources. And given the total cost calculations mentioned earlier, we have a moral responsibility to do so. The time for a transition, then, is now. An Energiewende by any other name will still smell as sweet

How Germans Go Green Germany is laying out a model for how to gut greenhouse gas emissions.US By  and  Dec. 9, 2014  With the German government’s reaffirmation this month of carbon emissions reduction goals of 40 percent by 2020, and its courageous commitment to phase out coal, the country is now leading the world with an aggressive and unparalleled climate action plan. This sets a new bar for nations gathering in Lima, Peru, for climate talks.

Germany’s energy transition, or Energiewende, and its aggressive goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 is a direct result of experiencing, firsthand, the risks that come with dirtier and more dangerous fuels. Germany first targeted nuclear and now it’s targeting coal – and for good reason. Continue reading

December 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Safety fears, as unidentified drones fly over France’s nuclear reactors

safety-symbolWith concerns about terrorism ever-present, the fear that drones carrying explosive devices could potentially fly over such sites looms large. 

Drones Flying Over Nuclear Power Stations in France Raise Concerns Global Voices,  byAbdoulaye Bah Translated byDanielle Martineau  9 December 2014 

drone-near-nuclear-plantAt least 19 drones have been spotted in the past two months flying over nuclear power stations in France. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for conducting these flights. French electric utility company EDF says the drones pose no risk whatsoever to the plants’ equipment or operations, but many nationwide are still uneasy.

With 58 nuclear reactors spread out over 19 plants, France is the highest user of nuclear energy in Europe, and the second highest in the world, after the United States.

In a blog post published on the website Géneration NT,  Jérôme G. gives some insight into the matter:…….

Drones have successfully evaded all the power stations’ defenses. EDF also reports a number of drone overflights that differs from Greenpeace’s count. Pascal Riché, co-founder of, notes: Continue reading

December 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canadian study finds solar, wind, cost-competitive for peak energy

solar,-wind-aghastantnuke-relevantSolar, wind cost-competitive for peak energy, study finds, CBC News 8 Dec 14,  Solar and wind power are increasingly cost-competitive with conventional forms of electrical power, including coal and nuclear, even without subsidies, according to a new study.

“The economics of alternative energy have changed dramatically in the last decade,” said George Bilicic, global head of the power energy and infrastructure group at Lazard Ltd. and author of the report.

“Utilities still require conventional technologies to meet the energy needs of a developed economy, but they are using alternative technologies to create diversified portfolios of power generation resources. The cost for utilities to generate energy from photovoltaic technologies has fallen by nearly 20 per cent in the past year, and nearly 80 per cent in the last five years, he said.

China’s entry into the solar panel business has helped push down the cost of solar technologies.

‘What’s most interesting about renewable and the mature area right now is utility-scale wind on land and utility-scale solar on land’– George Bilicic, Lazard

As a source of peak energy — that is, power at times when there is the greatest demand on the electrical grid — photovoltaics are more flexible and cost-competitive than conventional technologies, Bilicic said.

“What’s most interesting about renewable and the mature area right now is utility-scale wind on land and utility-scale solar on land. That is the most financeable and the most cost-effective,” he said in an interview with CBC’s The Exchange with Amanda Lang. 

Lazard has published the study, called Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, since 2008 and has a perspective on the fall prices.

It found land-based wind power has dropped in price — as much as 60 per cent in the last five years, though off-shore power remains expensive……….

December 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Until 2020 at least, with glut of uranium, prices too low for new mines

bull-uncertain-uraniumDespite rebound, uranium spot price still too low to encourage new mines, South China Morning Post,  08 December, 2014  The spot-market price of uranium has rebounded almost 40 per cent from a nine-year low in May, but miners and analysts say prices are still too low to encourage the development of new mines to meet higher long-term demand for the nuclear power fuel, largely from the mainland.

Given ample supply, prices will remain depressed for some more time yet in the wake of the bear market induced by Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, they say……..

it is a bit early to celebrate … in the near term, price gains will be held back by the existence of large inventory held by uranium consumers,” miner Rio Tinto Uranium’s managing director Clark Beyer said.

Mainland imports had been quite high in the past five years, and power producers in the United States were sitting on enough stock to last two years according to US government statistics, Beyer said.

Jonathan Hinze, a senior vice-president at US-based Ux Consulting, estimated this year’s combined mined uranium oxide supply and supply from inventories at 190 million pounds (86.18 tonnes), above demand of around 170 million pounds.

Even in 2020, the consultancy expects supply of 220 million pounds – including that from major new mines under development in Canada and Namibia – to be greater than the 200 million pounds of demand……

December 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Clean energy industry wants a renewable energy target that will ensure a business future for clean energy

Clean energy industry urges Labor to resume RET talks, The Age December 10, 2014 –  National political reporter Clean energy companies are urging Labor to resume talks with the government over Australia’s renewable energy target to try to break an impasse they say is crippling the industry.

It comes as the Clean Energy Council publishes a report that says the breakdown of bipartisanship will strip existing investments in the clean energy sector of hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

The Clean Energy Council’s report finds that if bipartisanship is not restored, “an unresolved RET review would cause a further collapse in the value of Renewable Energy Certificates” leading to annual revenue losses of $400 to $500 million for existing renewable energy projects.

In some cases this would lead to the collapse and closure of businesses, significant job losses from an industry that directly employs 21,000 people, and the “loss or postponement of more than $14.5 billion in future investment out to 2020”, according to the study…………….

The government has not budged from its starting point, which would reduce the target from 41,000 gigawatt hours of baseline power by 2020, to about 27,000 gigawatt hours – a so called “real 20 per cent”……………….

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said a possible deal with the cross bench would not restore investment certainty and both major parties would have to find an acceptable compromise.

“We’re encouraged from the sentiment from the government to want to move forward and resolve this,” Mr Thornton said.

“Our assumption is that the government is therefore prepared to move from its previously stated position of real 20 per cent.

“Clearly that proposal was entirely unacceptable for the industry.

“If they are we’d encourage Labor to return to the negotiations to achieve an outcome that guarantees a strong future.” Since the government launched its review of Australia’s target, headed by climate sceptic and businessman Dick Warburton, investment in renewable energy has stalled.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that investment for the first three quarters of 2014 was just $238 million, compared to $2 billion for the whole of 2013.

Mr Thornton said a target in the twenties or low thirties would destroy investment in the sector, but the industry was “open to talking about trajectory and numbers” in the mid-thirties range.

Mr Butler said on Tuesday: “We haven’t seen any commitment from the Government that they’re moving from their position of a 40 per cent cut to the RET.

“We’re up for a discussion if they are prepared to shift their position but this industry has said no deal is better than a bad deal.”

December 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Australia faces a costly future with climate change’s weather extremes

Poor planning leaves Australia exposed to climate change and massive damage bills, CSIRO says ABC NewsBy environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer and the National Reporting Team’s Mazoe Ford 9 Dec 2014, 

As Sydney and Brisbane clean up from severe storms and the planet heads towards its hottest year on record, the CSIRO is warning the damage caused by extreme weather could cost Australia more than $1 trillion.
The ABC has obtained advice from the nation’s premier science agency warning climate change and poor planning were leaving the nation increasingly exposed to natural disasters.

The CSIRO draft discussion paper said the cost of replacing homes and other buildings exposed to bushfires, inland flooding and coastal inundation could almost double by 2100 to $1.38 trillion.

“All evidence suggests that the current trend of increasing disaster costs will continue into the future with a direct impact on Commonwealth expenditure,” the CSIRO said.

“Climate change is likely to increase this trend in the longer term for many hazards.”………………

December 10, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment