Australian news, and some related international items

Breakfast with the Toffs, after May 6th Nuclear Royal Commission announces wonderful waste import plan

a-cat-CANSpin all over the place about Australia’s so wonderful opportunities in the uranium/nuclear industry! It’s all part of the leadup to  the shonky Nuclear Fuel Commission’s unsurprising recommendation that South Australia should import radioactive trash.

I guess they had a good time with the charade of the Royal Commission, jaunts overseas for the nuclear shills, and the spurious business of taking submissions –  of course, as Kev says, the antinuke ones were mostly “emotional, so they don’t count anyway.

RC breakfast

Let’s begin with good old reliable nuclear stooge Kevin Scarce. For just the measly $67.50 , you can have brekky with him – a sit-down hot breakfast, layered berry yoghurt muesli shot, seasonal fruit, brewed coffee, T Bar teas and fresh juice.

Meanwhile, Kev will tell you how you beaut it will be when South Australia goes full steam ahead with importing radioactive trash and expanding the nuclear fuel chain. See more at Action Australia.

Anyway, it’s  a suitable breakfast price. We do want to keep the great unwashed out, after all .

Meanwhile, back at the struggling, barely surviving uranium mining industry, they are putting on  a bold face, too.

The Minerals Council of Australia’s Uranium Forum has today released a range of material that purports to demonstrate the potential benefits of further developing Australia’s uranium industry. ‘Uranium: Untapped Potential’ includes a poster, a series of videos featuring industry experts and voices, and social media material highlighting the untapped potential further growth of the uranium industry offers Australia.  They’r on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube. linked in, as well as the usual mainstream media.

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | 1 Comment

Climate Change and Children – United Nations Childrens Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF copyUNICEF’s increasing involvement in climate change. Other UN groups have worked on this for decades, but the connection with children is a new approach.

Thanks to all the excellent work by Country Offices, #ClimateChain has gathered hundreds of powerful images of children standing boldly in front of the environment they want to protect.  #ClimateChain was launched on World Water Day; that week, UNICEF received 236 million potential impressions on social media.

We now leverage this effort for this week’s historic signing of the Paris Climate Agreement at the UN.  On Friday, 22 April, world leaders are to convene at the General Assembly Hall to sign the environmental accord – a record 197 countries pledging their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and start adapting for the effects of climate change.

UNICEF is working to make sure children are front and center of this occasion.

As the leaders gather, they will be greeted by children forming a live Climate Chain, with screens showing images of children around the world forming the Climate Chain.

Getrude Clement, a UNICEF Digital Youth Mapper, will speak during the opening ceremony, sharing her experience in Tanzania and urging the leaders to uphold their commitments.

After the final speaker, 197 children will flood the aisles of the GA Hall in a key moment to make a powerful statement about climate action.  Wearing T-shirts which say “your promise, our future,” the children will reach their arms out in a Climate Chain, as images of children from around the world in a virtual chain are also shown on screens.

We invite you to post your photos and join the Climate Chain this week, before Friday.



April 20, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia to sell uranium to Ukraine? – insensitive timing, economic and security folly

For security reasons, Australia has suspended uranium sales to Russia. It seems extraordinary that Australia should now enter into a deal with even more unsafe and unstable Ukraine, in its present war and political crisis.      

No doubt the federal parliament’s influential Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) will examine the planned deal, that Julie Bishop signed up to in New York with Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn. 

JSCOT recently warned against the agreement to sell uranium to India but its recommendations were ignored by the Coalition Government. Here’s hoping that there will be scrutiny on the Ukrainian agreement and that the government will pay attention. 


Four big reasons not to sell uranium to Ukraine,8895  Noel Wauchope 18 April 2016 As the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster approaches, Noel Wauchope outlines just a few compelling reasons why the Coalition Government’s uranium deal with Ukraine may have further disastrous consequences.

WHAT AMAZINGLY insensitive timing! As the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe approaches, Australia makes a deal (at the Nuclear Security Summit) to sell uranium to Ukraine.

This is such a bad idea for so many reasons — it’s hard to know which to pick first!

Economics: simply because uranium exporting is not really economically worthwhile.

chernobylChernobyl’s plight: because Ukraine’s Chernobyl radioactive disaster is continuing. (We supplied uranium for that other catastrophe — Fukushima.)

Insecurity: Ukraine’s dangerous nuclear industry due to civil war, ageing reactors, risks of smuggling and terrorism.

Political crisis: Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt and unstable political regime.

Let’s check those four reasons.


The global uranium industry is in a declining state. Price reporting companies describe repeated low and falling uranium prices. Australia’s uranium industry now accounts for 0.2 per cent of national export revenue — and that’s not counting profits that go overseas, due to the high degree of foreign ownership of companies mining uranium in Australia.

Chernobyl’s plight

Continue reading

April 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Just where does South Australia’s Senator Nick Xenophon stand on nuclear waste importing?

Xenophon sitting on fence

USA election 2016Nuclear caution vital, Port Lincoln Times, 18 Apr 16   ROAD funding, nuclear waste and drilling in the Great Australian Bight are among the issues on the agenda for recently announced candidate for Grey, Andrea Broadfoot.

Ms Broadfoot was last week announced as the Nick Xenophon Team’s candidate for the seat of Grey and said she hoped to make the safe Liberal seat marginal to attract the resources the region needed.

“We’re very committed in the community about getting out and talking to people and finding out what their issues are.”

Speaking in Port Lincoln on Thursday, Senator Nick Xenophon said Ms Broadfoot would give current member for Grey, Liberal Rowan Ramsey, a “run for his money”…….

Ms Broadfoot said the potential for a nuclear waste storage facility at one of three sites in South Australia was another issue she was concerned about.

She said the region needed to look at the long term impact on the perception of the region rather than the short term monetary gains that may be made.

“We need to be really cautious and careful about the decisions we make,” Ms Broadfoot said……..

She said the community was divided on the issue, with even the former Liberal member for Grey Barry Wakelin publicly coming out and saying Kimba was not the place for nuclear waste.

Mr Xenophon said it did not make sense to have a nuclear waste storage facility in a premium agriculture region……

April 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, election 2016, South Australia | Leave a comment

Mark Diesendorf exposes the myths of the nuclear lobby against renewable energy

highly-recommendedDiesendorf-MarkRenewable energy versus nuclear: dispelling the myths Mark Diesendorf 19th April 2016 

Don’t believe the spurious claims of nuclear shills constantly doing down renewables, writes Mark Diesendorf. Clean, safe renewable energy technologies have the potential to supply 100% of the world’s electricity needs – but the first hurdle is to refute the deliberately misleading myths designed to promote the politically powerful but ultimately doomed nuclear industry.

Nuclear energy and renewable energy (RE) are the principal competitors for low-carbon electricity in many countries.

As RE technologies have grown in volume and investment, and become much cheaper, nuclear proponents and deniers of climate science have become deniers of RE.

The strategies and tactics of RE deniers are very similar to those of climate science deniers.

To create uncertainty about the ability of RE to power an industrial society, they bombard decision-makers and the media with negative myths about RE and positive myths about nuclear energy, attempting to turn these myths into conventional wisdom.

In responding to the climate crisis, few countries have the economic resources to expand investment substantially in both nuclear and RE. This is demonstrated in 2016 by the UK government, which is offering huge long-term subsidies to nuclear while severely cutting existing short-term subsidies to RE.

This article, a sequel to one busting the myth that we need base-load power stations such as nuclear or coal, examines critically some of the other myths about nuclear energy and RE. It offers a resource for those who wish to question these myths. The myths discussed here have been drawn from comments by nuclear proponents and RE opponents in the media, articles, blogs and on-line comments.

Myth 1: Base-load power stations are necessary to supply base-load demand. Continue reading

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia’s Attorney General George Brandis doubts the science of climate change

Map Turnbull climateBrandis questions climate change science, Herald Sun, April 19, 2016  Attorney-General George Brandis has questioned the science of climate change, saying he’s not “at all” convinced it is settled.

Labor has seized on comments by the senior Turnbull government minister that there were a number of views about the cause of climate change, arguing it proves the deep climate scepticism in the coalition.

“It doesn’t seem to me that the science is settled at all,” Senator Brandis told parliament on Tuesday during debate on the tabling of documents relating to the CSIRO.

The attorney-general was addressing a recent CSIRO restructure – undertaken internally – which will move the focus away from collecting climate data.

About 200 jobs are at risk, however the overall head count is expected to return to current levels within two years………CSIRO head Larry Marshall said in an email to staff when announcing the restructure that the question of climate change had been proved and it was time to refocus on solutions to it.

However, scientists say without continuous data collection – some of which is undertaken by the CSIRO in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology – huge gaps could form that could never be recovered.

Labor said the attorney-general’s comments were breathtaking.

“The commitment of Senator Brandis to addressing the impacts of climate change is so shallow, he hasn’t made up his mind whether it actually exists yet,” environment spokesman Mark Butler and shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said in a statement.

April 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Bleaching of Barrier Reef inevitable, unless govt policies change

coral bleachingGreat Barrier Reef: Federal, Queensland governments not listening to scientists, ‘Godfather of Coral’ says, ABC News, By Stephanie Smail 18 Apr The Queensland and Federal governments are not listening to scientists about the mass coral bleaching hitting the Great Barrier Reef, a renowned researcher says.

Dr Charlie Veron, a prominent marine scientist who is known as the “Godfather of Coral” for having discovered about one-third of all coral species in the world, described the severe bleaching across the northern reef as “gut-wrenching”.

Dr Veron said he was angry the Great Barrier Reef was not being made a priority. “Governments are being anything but up-front — they’re behaving like a mob of drunken sailors,” he said.

Dr Veron said scientists had warned governments for decades about risks to the reef and frustration was building over state and federal approvals forAdani’s giant Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland.

“For heaven’s sake, take it seriously – listen to scientists for a change,” he said. “They never listen about climate change in general and now they’re not listening about the Great Barrier Reef.”

University of Queensland Professor Justin Marshall, who has been monitoring the reef for decades, also urged action. “I’m now just furious that the Federal Government is still sitting back not doing enough,” he said.

Scientists warn if policy does not change, severe bleaching would keep happening…….

April 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Australia can save money by switching to 100% renewable energy by 2030

Parkinson-Report-New report shows 100% renewable by 2030 can save Australia money, REneweconomy,   By  on 19 April 2016  A new report from the Institute for Sustainable Futures in Sydney says a rapid transition to a 100 per cent renewable energy system can save Australia money – with avoided fuel costs to quickly offset the extra capital expenditure of building wind, solar and other renewable energy installations.

“The transition to a 100 per cent renewable energy system by 2050 is both technically possible and economically viable in the long term,” the report says. And by 100 per cent renewable, it means all energy use, including transport and heating.

The report canvasses two renewable energy scenarios, one based on a high level of renewable energy in the electricity grid, but with transport largely reliant on fossil fuels. The second is the Advanced Renewables scenario, which canvasses a totally renewable electricity system by 2030 and a fully renewable energy system by 2050. Continue reading

April 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Australian government oblivious of the dangers of a regional nuclear war

Nuclear-WinterNuclear Famine, Independent Australia,  17 April 2016   Daryl Williams discusses a recent scientific report in which the devastating global impacts of a small nuclear conflict, including “nuclear famine”, are outlined.

THE COLD WAR is over, the Berlin Wall has fallen, nuclear warhead numbers have declined significantly — so the threat of nuclear catastrophe has passed, right?

Well, sadly no.

In fact, things may be more dangerous today than at the height of the Cold War.

Computer simulations of the indirect climate effects of even a “small” regional nuclear exchange indicate that the whole world would still be imperiled.

A recent 16-page scientific paper, ‘Multidecadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a ‘regional nuclear conflict‘, by MillsToonLee-Taylor and Robock, outlines the horrific unexpected consequences. Once you boil down the “science-speak” it paints a bleak picture – via an “Earth system model” which includes atmospheric chemistry, ocean dynamics and interactive sea ice and land components – which we should do everything we can to avoid.

It deserves far more attention than it has received and its findings should be informing our foreign, defence and emergency management policies. In summary, the scenario it simulates is as follows:

Firestorms in India and Pakistan from a “small” regional conflict and nuclear exchange would inject 5 Tg (or one million tonnes) of black carbon (smoke, soot, dust) into the stratosphere which spreads globally.

The black carbon heats the stratosphere (by up to an amazing 80 degrees C) and cools the lower atmosphere and surface (by 1.1 degrees C in the first four years, down to 1.6 degrees in the fifth year, slowly rising to 0.25 to 0.5 degrees 20 years later). The colder surface temperatures reduce precipitation by 6% globally for the first five years and still by 4.5% one decade on.

Oh, and hundreds of millions of Indians and Pakistanis would be incinerated to death … but let’s concentrate on the long-term climate repercussions……..

That spells big trouble for Earth in the form of

widespread damage to human health, agriculture, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.’

That is,

‘…combined cooling and enhanced UV would put significant pressures on global food supplies and could trigger global nuclear famine.’………

The report also states:

‘The combined effects of elevated UV levels alone on terrestrial agriculture and marine ecosystems could put significant pressures on global food security.’

And yet, I didn’t read anything about this in the 2016 Defence White Paper or in any plans byEmergency Management Australia. Why not?…….,8893

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

London’s huge solar floating farm provides clean water to 10 million

World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm to Provide 10 Million People with Clean Water, Luminary Daily,  By  / 20 March 2016 The solar farm will span 57,500 square meters (or about eight soccer stadiums) of the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir and will consist of 23,000 solar panels, covering about a tenth of the reservoir. It is slated to be completed by the end of March.

Solar floating farm London copy

Utility company Thames Water runs the reservoir, while Lightsource Renewable Energy — a private solar energy company based in London — is responsible for the funding and operation of the revolutionary farm.

“This will be the biggest floating solar farm in the world for a time — others are under construction,” Angus Berry, energy manager for Thames Water, told The Guardian. “We are leading the way, but we hope that others will follow, in the UK and abroad.”………

Similar floating solar farms are under construction, or have already been completed, both in England and around the world. Recently, a 45,500 square meter solar farm opened in Greater Manchester, England and water company United Utilities, also in Manchester, is currently constructing a similar project that will have about half the capacity of the Thames Water project. In Japan, solar company Kyocera is in the process of building an 180,000 square meter floating solar farm (see featured image at the top) that is set to be completed in 2018.

For their dedication to providing clean, renewable energy, for their innovation, and for helping to lead the charge in the energy revolution we are happy to name the folks at Lightsource and Thames Water our Luminaries of the Week.

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

French nuclear firm EDF in strife over costs of UK Hinkley project

AREVA EDF crumblingPressure rises on EDF board over Hinkley Point nuclear plant,, 19 Apr 16,  Michael Stothard in Paris  A group of managers at French utility EDF have sent a letter to its board of directors warning they could all face legal action if the company pushes ahead with its contentious Hinkley Point C nuclear project in the UK.

The letter, dated April 19 and seen by the Financial Times, said that if a board decision in favour of Hinkley Point led to the “destruction of the value” at EDF its directors could be held personally responsible……….

French president François Hollande is also meeting ministers at the Élysée Palace on Wednesday to discuss financing options for Hinkley Point. The French state has an 85 per cent stake in EDF.

The letter by the group of EDF managers highlights the internal battle that has raged within the company over Hinkley Point, with chief financial officer Thomas Piquemal resigning last month because of concerns that the UK project could threaten the company’s future…….

Two other nuclear projects in France and Finland using the same reactor technology proposed for Hinkley Point are both severely delayed and billions over budget……..

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia knew about global warming in 1968

US firms knew about global warming in 1968 – what about Australia?, The Conversation, , April 18, 2016  “……..In 1974, the Australian Conservation Foundation established its Habitatmagazine. An early issue included an article about global warming.

The following year, the economist and bureaucrat Herbert Cole “Nugget” Coombs persuaded the Whitlam government to commission research on the issue. This gave rise to an Australian Academy of Science (AAS) report that concluded it was too early to tell.

By the late 1970s, The Canberra Times began running prominent stories about the possibility of sea-level rise and other climate impacts. One that presumably caught the coal industry’s attention was a November 1977 article in which a US physicist warned that relying only on coal-fired power would flood US cities.

In 1981, the AAS followed up on its earlier work, releasing a report on “The CO₂-Climate Connection: A Global Problem from an Australian Perspective”. At this time, pro-nuclear Liberal politicians were invoking climate change as a reason for Australia to pursue nuclear energy.

The same year, the Office of National Assessment wrote a report for the Fraser government titled “Fossil Fuels and the Greenhouse Effect”. Clive Hamilton, who uncovered it, described how the report urged the government to consider moving away from fossil fuels…….

That decade climate change slowly but surely climbed the political agenda, thanks largely to the work of then federal science minister Barry Jones. In 1987 his Commission for the Future worked with CSIRO under the banner of the “Greenhouse Project” to stage a series of workshops, to be followed – with exquisite timing – by conferences across Australia in late 1988………

the first mention of climate change I found in the now-defunct Australian Journal of Mining was a November 1988 article titled “Physicist claims CO₂ will actually benefit biosphere”………

April 20, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, history | Leave a comment

Climate change making Middle East uninhabitable?

Climate Change (I)
Will the Middle East Become ‘Uninhabitable’?
IPS, By Baher Kamal  This is the first of a two-part series of reports focusing on the impact of climate change on the Middle East & North of Africa region, ahead of the signing ceremony of the Paris climate agreement, on 22 April 2016 in New York. Part II will address the dramatic issue of water scarcity in the region.

CAIRO, Apr 18 2016 (IPS) – This is not about any alarming header—it is the dramatic conclusion of several scientific studies about the on-going climate change impact on the Middle East region, particularly in the Gulf area. The examples are stark.

“Within this century, parts of the Persian Gulf region could be hit with unprecedented events of deadly heat as a result of climate change, according to a study of high-resolution climate models,” a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research warned.

The research–titled “Persian Gulf could experience deadly heat”, reveals details of a business-as-usual scenario for greenhouse gas emissions, but also shows that curbing emissions could forestall these “deadly temperature extremes.”

The study, which was published in detail ahead of the Paris climate summit in the journal Nature Climate Change, was conducted by Elfatih Eltahir, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT, and Jeremy Pal PhD ’01 at Loyola Marymount University.

The authors conclude that conditions in the Persian Gulf region, including its shallow water and intense sun, make it “a specific regional hotspot where climate change, in absence of significant mitigation, is likely to severely impact human habitability in the future.”

Running high-resolution versions of standard climate models, Eltahir and Pal found that many major cities in the region could exceed a tipping point for human survival, even in shaded and well-ventilated spaces. Eltahir says this threshold “has, as far as we know … never been reported for any location on Earth.”……….

While global models predict sea levels rising from about 0.1 to 0.3 meters by the year 2050, and from about 0.1 to 0.9 meters by 2100, the World Bank says, for MENA, the social, economic, and ecological impacts are expected to be relatively higher compared to the rest of the world. Low-lying coastal areas in Tunisia, Qatar, Libya, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and specially Egypt are at particular risk.

Climate change also poses many challenges to the region’s cities, which represent hubs for economic, social, cultural and political activities. Rising sea level could affect 43 port cities—24 in the Middle East and 19 in North Africa, according to the World Bank study.

“In the case of Alexandria, Egypt, a 0.5 meter rise would leave more than 2 million people displaced, with 35 billion dollars in losses in land, property, and infrastructure, as well as incalculable losses of historic and cultural assets.”(TO BE CONTINUED)

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The extinction crisis in a warming world – video

How climate change is intensifying threats to nature — and what can be done …

The world is losing creatures at an accelerating rate: Species of frogs, lizards, fish and birds have all gone extinct as their habitats have been fragmented, degraded and destroyed by humans. Now, as the Earth grows warmer due to the burning of fossil fuels, the rapid disruption of the climate is placing even bigger stresses on species that are already struggling to survive. &

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment