Australian news, and some related international items

Petition against South Australia waste dump plan launched by USA Nuclear Information Service

text don't nuclear waste AustraliaHelp stop A Global Mobile Chernobyl! Nuclear Information and Resource Service, 23 Apr 16,   A group of politicians and businesspeople are developing a plan to build an international high-level nuclear waste dump in South Australia–a nation that has no commercial nuclear reactors. The plan is strongly opposed by many South Australians and by an overwhelming majority of Aboriginal people, who own the land.

The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, representing Aboriginal people from across Australia, calls on nuclear nations NOT to dump nuclear waste in Australia. The nuclear industry has a track record of Aboriginal dispossession and environmental pollution–from atomic bomb tests to uranium mining to nuclear waste dump proposals.

NIRS is supporting our friends in Australia and we hope you, and your organization, will too, by signing on to a petition of support by going hereYou can also learn more about the issue at this site.

Individuals: please sign the simple statement of support below.

Dear friends in the Australian Nuclear-Free Alliance community, 

Thank you for your commitment to “Keep It in the Ground” by your efforts to stop uranium mining in your lands. 

We stand with you. We, the people, must and will stop the dirty, deadly and deceptive nuclear industry. We have heard that your lands are now being targeted by global nuclear waste companies. We are the community of Nuclear Information and Resource Service supporters. Collectively and as individuals, we commit to speak out and act to prevent your home from becoming a dumping ground for global nuclear waste. 

Our planet and our struggle is shared and NIRS and ANFA are stronger together. 
Thank you for standing for health, hope and your home. We stand with you.

USA only – 847 signatures so far

April 22, 2016 Posted by | politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia not invited to high level climate group in New York

Map Turnbull climateAustralia has sought ongoing involvement in the coalition, and had reached out to the countries involved through diplomatic channels, but had so far been rebuffed.

“It is difficult to be in a high ambition coalition if you are a low ambition country.”

Australia snubbed by ‘high-ambition’ group at climate talks in New York, The Age, April 22, 2016 Tom Arup, Adam Morton

Australia was not invited to a meeting of the ”high ambition coalition” on climate change in New York this week. Nobody likes left being out of the cool gang – especially one they have asked to join.

But that was Australia’s fate overnight when it was excluded by a group of countries describing itself as the “high ambition coalition” on climate change, reflecting ongoing wariness about our commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The apparent snub came as up to 170 countries gathered at the United Nations in New York to formally sign the Paris climate deal reached last December.

The high ambition coalition – including heavy-hitters such as the US, Canada, Germany and Brazil – came together in Paris in a bid to bolster the strength of a global climate agreement and head-off moves by countries such as India and Saudi Arabia to water down parts of the deal. Continue reading

April 22, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

ANOTHER Liberal Senator doubts the science of climate change!

Liberal-policy-1Senator agrees climate science ‘not settled’–not-settled-.html 21 April 2016 Deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash has supported her coalition colleague Liberal Senator George Brandis’ view that the science on climate change is not settled.

Labor has condemned Senator Brandis after he told parliament he was not ‘at all’ convinced there is a scientific consensus about climate change.

‘It doesn’t seem to me that the science is settled at all,’ Senator Brandis said on Tuesday during debate on the tabling of documents relating to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

‘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.

Senator Nash told Sky News she agrees there are ‘varying views’ between scientists on climate change..

‘I don’t think it is certainly necessarily settled,’ she said. ‘I think we should be taking every precaution that we ensure the planet is healthy.’

The NSW Senator says she was not sure whether her view on climate science was shared by her cabinet colleagues

‘I think you would have to ask the other cabinet ministers but it’s certainly my view.’

– See more at:–not-settled-.html#sthash.4k3e4pDd.dpuf– See more at:–not-settled-.html#sthash.4k3e4pDd.dpuf– See more at:–not-settled-.html#sthash.4k3e4pDd.dpuf

April 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

USA ‘New Nuclear’ lobby trying to weaken powers of Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Edwin Lyman, senior scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security Program, said the timing of the legislation is “premature.” Lyman told Congress to consider that the legislation might pose an unfair burden on taxpayers and put Americans at increased risk.

The legislation would also eliminate language that requires NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel to hold a hearing on new applications.

“That’s inherently dangerous technology that needs tough questions to be asked about it,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). “I don’t think the public is going to be happy if they’re told ‘no hearings’ on this dangerous technology.”


Advanced reactor bill raises ‘red flags Hannah Hess, E&E reporter E&E Daily: Friday, April 22, 2016

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s head of operations yesterday tried to sell lawmakers on a strategy to license the latest nuclear technology.

But Victor McCree had to contend with lawmakers who have their own plan to lay the groundwork for advanced reactors, and it goes beyond the administration’s comfort zone……

Eight days ago, EPW Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) teamed up with Whitehouse and Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to introduce legislation to reform the licensing process and restructure how NRC is funded.

But a hearing of the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee revealed concerns about safety and security, including NRC’s own fears that the legislation could handcuff regulators (E&E Daily, April 14).

The bill would change NRC to develop “technology-inclusive regulatory framework” — defined as using methods of evaluation that are flexible and predictable, such as risk-informed and performance-based techniques.

Critics warn that lawmakers didn’t properly explain those terms, which could lead to less rigorous standards for the approval of novel nuclear power technologies. Continue reading

April 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia may switch from oil to solar power

sunIs the fear of bankruptcy forcing oil-rich Saudi turn to solar power? Wait for 25 April   Apr 22, 2016 In March 2016, Saudi Arabia stunned the world with an unusual announcement. Its oil minister Ali al-Naimi stated the following at a Berlin conference: “I don’t think there is a more ideal country for renewables than Saudi Arabia, given its abundant sunshine, available land and plentiful sand, which is needed for making solar panels”. Of course, this won’t happen overnight, he added by way of clarification. He expects consumers to continue using fossil fuel for the next 50 years. But his statement that Saudi Arabia would make a foray into solar power was the last thing investors had on their minds.

In fact, should Saudi Arabia put its money behind solar power, expect the pace of growth for solar to climb frenetically. Solar power is already expected to grow by 28% during 2016.

Already, last year was a scorcher. 2015 ended with around 59 GW (giga Watt or 1,000 MW) of solar installed capacity. This made it another record year in terms of solar PV installation, It represented a 700% increase from the 2008 annual demand. Clearly, the solar PV industry has grown exponentially and is worth more than $100 billion now.

2016 promises to be another double digit growth year . Various analysts put the growth of solar power in 2016 anywhere between 10-17%, to about 69 GW. Almost 93% of the demand will come from just three countries: India, China and the US. Saudi Arabia’s investments could cause this number to flare up further.

But why is Saudi Arabia moving away from oil? To understand its decision to begin looking to solar energy, it might be helpful to listen carefully to the utterances of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, grandson of the founder king of Saudi Arabia.

Just a few days ago, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek he pointed to the urgent need for his country to restructure its finances. He was of the belief that his country should change fundamentally. The alternative would be catastrophic.

t was only last year that the country’s managers discovered that thanks to rapidly falling oil prices, Saudi Arabia had witnessed a continuous (and precipitous) fall in its forex reserves. Analysts believed that bankruptcy would be just a couple of years away. The oil price crash had resulted in a budget shortfall of almost $200 billion. Historically, the country depended on oil for 90% of its budget requirements. Now that was fast evaporating.

That could also explain why all eyes are now set on 25 April (three days away) when Prince Mohammed is slated to present his “Vision for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” That is when he is likely to unfold a plan incorporating widespread economic and social changes. According to BusinessWeek, it includes

1) the creation of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, which will eventually hold more than $2 trillion in assets—enough to buy all of Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Berkshire Hathaway, the world’s four largest public companies.

2) an IPO that could sell off “less than 5 percent” of Saudi Aramco, the national oil producer, which will be turned into the world’s biggest industrial conglomerate (watch out, Mukesh Ambani!).

3) diversification into non-petroleum assets, hedging the kingdom’s nearly total dependence on oil for revenue.

According to BusinessWeek, these moves “will technically make investments the source of Saudi government revenue, not oil . . .[so that] within 20 years, we will be an economy or state that doesn’t depend mainly on oil.”

Expect solar power to be a major driver. And wait for April 25!

This is a two part series article on the solar fortunes. Read the second part tommorrow.

Continue reading

April 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

San Franciso heads for 100% renewable energy, requires solar panels on new buidlings

solar citySan Francisco Becomes First Major City to Require Solar Panels on New Buildings, Nation of Change, By Lorraine Chow – April 20, 2016 
San Francisco is one step closer to its goal of transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy after the city’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday to mandate solarinstallations on new buildings. According to the San Francisco Examiner, starting Jan. 1 of next year, new commercial and residential buildings up to 10 stories high must install rooftop solar systems for heat or electricity. Buildings that are taller are exempt for now.

The famously green metropolis is now the first major city in the U.S. to legislate such a requirement. San Francisco follows the footsteps of the smaller towns of Lancaster and Sebastopol. The municipalities, which are also in California, passed similar mandates in 2013.

“This legislation will help move us toward a clean energy future and toward our city’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2025,” supervisor Scott Wiener, who introduced the legislation, wrote on his Facebook page. Continue reading

April 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Florida to get solar-powered eco-city

solar cityA Solar-Powered Eco-City for 50,000 Breaking Ground in Florida
The Babcock Ranch development will be primarily powered by a $300 million solar array,
Curbed, BY BARBARA ELDREDGE  @BARBARAELDREDGE APR 22, 2016, Construction is kicking off on a development hoping to become America’s first solar-powered city. Located in southwestern Florida just 13 miles from Fort Myers, the under-constructionBabcock Ranch development is slated to encompass 19,500 homes, 6 million square feet of retail, and 50,000 inhabitants by the time it’s fully finished in roughly 25 years.

And it’ll largely be powered by one of the country’s largest arrays of photovoltaic panels.

 When complete, the 400-acre, $300 million array will produce enough energy to run the town and feed excess power back into the electrical grid. Construction of the $300 million, 75-megawatt power plant started in October, and it should be operational and connected to the energy grid by the end of the year……..

Planned entirely from the ground up with sustainability and environmental conservation in mind, over half of city’s 17,608 acres will be set aside for parks, greenways, and lakes. The town is also bordered by two wildlife and nature preserves totaling nearly 150,000 acres of protected wilderness.

April 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK’s £18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power station plan in utter mess, likely to be postponed

text Hinkley cancelled£18bn Hinkley Point nuclear power station plan could be ‘coming to a grinding halt’ Controversial power station is a key part of the Government’s plan to ‘make sure the lights stay on’, Independent John LichfieldIan Johnston 22 April 2016  London“The French electricity giant EDF has thrown the British government’s energy strategy into disarray by reportedly delaying – possibly until next year – a decision on whether it will build a new £18bn nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, the head of EDF, has bowed to pressure from unions and senior company engineers and agreed to seek a fresh opinion from the company’s union-management consultative council, the respected French newspaper Le Figaro reported.EDF said it could not immediately confirm the report. Sources in the company told the French newspaper that the consultation process would take several months and that no decision on whether to go ahead with its involvement in Hinkley Point – expected to supply eight per cent of British slectricity by 2025 – would be made before next year.

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace claimed the delay could be “a sign that the entire project is coming to a grinding halt”, adding that the UK should back renewable energy “as a more reliable alternative” to nuclear power. Continue reading

April 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The health of uranium and nuclear workers. Response to #NuclearCommissionSAust’s ‘Tentative Findings’

It is extraordinary that the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission is not publishing Responses to its “Tentative Findings” before it makes its final announcement on May 6th.

submission goodMeanwhile, here is part of at least one very clear and informative response.

NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE ROYAL COMMISSION TENTATIVE FINDINGS RESPONSE March 2016 Dan Monceaux – Documentary filmmaker & South Australian citizen.

“…… I sincerely hope that the health and wellbeing of South Australia’s workforce, its citizenry and its environment are considered sufficiently important topics for this Commission to elaborate on the matters raised here ahead of its final report to Parliament in May.

………The Commission’s opening tentative finding states that “South Australia can safely increase its participation in nuclear activities, and by doing so, significantly improve the economic welfare of the South Australian community.”

The evidence base for adopting such a confident and conclusive statement is questionable. In the case of nuclear industrial activities which have established links with health conditions including cancer and associated heart, lung and liver conditions and potential genetic harm, the safety or otherwise of an activity or regulatory regime can only be proven by epidemiological studies spanning a timeframe of decades. For example, little is known about the fates of worker cohorts from existing and past uranium mining and milling activity in South Australia………. The Commission has had time to consider this matter, but appears to have not deemed it sufficiently important. ……

I wish to make a case for the prioritisation of epidemiological studies of past and present South Australian uranium worker cohorts as a matter of the utmost importance. The results of such studies could provide an empirical basis for future commentary regarding the safety or otherwise of the industry as it has existed until now…….

The Commission states that “policies must be based on evidence, not opinion or emotion.” The same rule should apply to statements made by the Commission. To be considered credible, they must be supported by material evidence. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Harm can neither be proven, nor safety assured without relevant epidemiological studies. This was known to South Australia’s Department of Mines in 1956, when Dr. B. S. Hanson wrote in The Health of Workers in the Uranium Industry (pg. 16): “It is only by long-term health examinations that the validity of our present speculative exposure limits may be tested.” This document is currently available on SARIG, the South Australian government’s resources industry geoserver:…….

The available evidence suggests that contemporary publications of South Australian Government departments fail to adequately communicate occupational exposure risk to their readers. The perfect example of this is the Uranium fact sheet published by the Department of State Development in 2015, during the proceedings of this Commission. The “Fact Sheet” poses the question “Is uranium safe?” then neglects to answer the question. Instead, it provides the graphic reproduced from t=1458534521755

Compare this to Hanson and Armstrongs statement from 1956, in documents held by the same South Australian government, written 60 years earlier:

health-uranium-worker “Hazards associated with uranium ore are of two kinds, those due to radioactivity, including 6 external radiation as well as internal radiation; and those due to uranium metal poisoning. Radon gas and its solid daughter products would appear to offer the greatest potential danger. They can be inhaled and the solid products so lodged in the body.” (Armstrong, pg. 18)

“The individual employed in a mine or mill risks damage by external or internal radiation, and as to the latter the radioactive particles which form a danger are either ingested or inhaled.” (Hanson pg. 7)

“The daughter products are insoluble, but together with the dust to which they adhere some are engulfed by the reticulo-endothelial cells of the lung surface and there theoretically give a high intensity of alpha radiation to those very surface cells which form the type seen in the usual cancer of the lung.” (Hanson pg. 9)

“The inhalation of active deposit on dust particles, is so much the most important one that most of our [Department of Mines’] effort should be directed towards overcoming it.” (Hanson pg.10)

“In my opinion, dusty clothes inevitably mean an inhalation risk as well as an ingestion risk.” (Hanson pg.14)

“Almost without exception this report deals with the real or probable dangers of radioactivity.” (Hanson pg. 19)

The disparity between the messages of 1955 and 1956 (Department of Mines) and 2015 (Department of State Development) is alarming and deeply concerning……

April 22, 2016 Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May, Submissions to Royal Commission S.A. | 1 Comment

Australia at New York climate talks – the ultimate climate action hypocrite

Turnbull climate 2 facedAustralia is the hollow man of global climate action, SMH April 21, 2016  Kelly O’Shanassy This week a record number of more than 130 countries will gather in New York to sign the Paris Climate agreement that was thrashed out last December. In doing so, they are acknowledging that human-induced climate pollution from burning fossil fuels is driving dangerous changes to our climate – and they are on board to tackle the problem.

Australia will be among those nations gathered in New York – but despite seeking to project a perception of credibility on climate, the Turnbull Government is still implementing the retrogressive policies from the Abbott era – and that needs to change………..

Speaking on behalf of the Umbrella Group of Countries, a loose coalition of non-European developed hypocrisy-scalenations, Julie Bishop went further stating the Paris Agreement “recognises that our common purpose is to hold global temperature rise well below 2 degrees, keeping 1.5 degrees in our sights and that this will require a long term transformation to an emissions neutral and climate resilient world”.

These are welcome words, but stacked up against Australia’s woeful climate policy record – they ring hollow and fail to convince. Let’s break down recent Australian government climate policy against Ms Bishop’s words.

Firstly, Australia’s current pollution reduction targets of 26-28 per cent pollution reduction by 2030 are nearly the weakest of any developed nation. If the rest of the world adopted such poor targets, we would likely see global warming of 3-4 degrees – with much more devastating impacts than we are currently witnessing.

Far from nurturing a vibrant and agile renewable energy sector, recent Australian governments have mounted what looks more like a long-running and sustained attack on renewable energy in Australia.

This has resulted in an 88 per cent reduction in investment in 2014 and a weakened Renewable Energy Target. It has effectively stymied progress in the sector at the very time we needed to be stepping up as a global renewable energy leader – and comes despite the fact the Australian public, through rooftop solar PV, has been among the leading adopters of clean energy globally.

At the same time, we’ve witnessed the Australian government unsuccessfully trying to get rid of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency. These vital agencies were only saved in the Senate – but the signal from the Federal government was clear for all to see.

Moreover, those carbon abatement mechanisms that have been set up are floundering. Despite $2.55 billion being committed to Australia’s much-vaunted Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), market analysts RepuTex have found that Australia’s emissions growth is significantly outpacing abatement contracted. The ERF instead uses taxpayer funds and reverse auctions to buy pollution reduction without getting to the heart of the problem – how to break our addiction to the dirty energy sector.

Added to all this, the government has only committed to review Australia’s inadequate raft of climate policies in 2017 – meaning unnecessary delays and offering no certainty that better policies will be implemented any time in the next 12 months.

This inglorious litany of weak policy settings and lack of tangible support for the growth of the renewable energy sector bespeaks Australia’s inability to break the shackles of the fossil fuel industry. It was captured neatly during the Paris climate conference by the global Climate Change Performance Index, which placed Australia third from last in climate policies, above only Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.

Despite fine words in international forums, Australia’s carbon pollution from the electricity sector has been steadily increasing. Reporting by the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows clearly that changes in the fuel mix – particularly an increase in coal – is driving this pollution growth.

coal CarmichaelMine2

And to top it off, the government has approved one of the biggest coalmines in the world – Adani’s Carmichael coal proposal in the Galilee Basin – a veritable carbon bomb that would strongly contribute to pushing global warming over the 2-degree limit.

So while the world is desperately trying to avert a climate catastrophe and our coral reefs are fighting for their lives, the Australian government is standing alongside global leaders in New York this week having done very little to meaningfully address the problem.

fossil-fuel-industryAll scenarios that limit global warming to well below 2 degrees require a clean energy transformation that includes rapidly getting carbon pollution out of the energy sector. That means replacing coal-burning power plants with clean renewable energy, an end to new coalmines and fossil fuel developments and a massive ramp up in energy efficiency.

Australia has become the hollow man of the Paris Climate Agreement – spouting fine words in the international spotlight but ultimately bringing nothing substantial to the table.

April 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Mierals Council’s Pro Uranium campaign – a fizzer already?

text-uranium-hypePro-uranium campaign backfires on Twitter  A Minerals Council campaign urging people to discuss the ‘untapped potential’ of uranium on social media has been used against it. A resources industry campaign to promote uranium mining has been hijacked by Twitter users keen to voice their opposition to the practice.

The Minerals Council of Australia launched the Uranium: Untapped Potential campaign on Wednesday, using social media content including videos and posters to highlight the benefits of uranium.

“The material is designed to showcase facts on the table about the uranium industry and the benefits it can provide to the Australian community, including the creation of hundreds of jobs,” the council’s executive director Daniel Zavattiero said in a statement.

It also aims to reassure the public on safety, while pointing out opportunities in nuclear medicine and the environmental upside of nuclear energy.

“A lifetime’s use of electricity from nuclear power plants produces the spent fuel equivalent of one soft drink can,” a poster says.

But the hashtag #UntappedPotential, which was trending by Wednesday afternoon, has attracted a large amount of undesired banter by environmentalists who have instead used it to express their concerns around the practice and advocate for alternative energy.

“#UntappedPotential for meltdowns and nuclear disaster?” said Twitter user Jemila Rushton.

“We need to better harness the #untappedpotential of solar power”, tweeted Upulie Divisekera.

“#UntappedPotential to put more communities at risk of nuclear waste dumps,” Ace Collective said on Twitter.

“We concur that uranium has much #untappedpotential – for disaster, cost and time blowouts and proliferation,” Anglesea After Coal said.

The Minerals Council is running the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

April 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, uranium | Leave a comment

In over-supplied market, uranium continues its downward spiral

cliff-money-nuclearUranium market is getting crushed Uranium price falls to lowest since May 2005 as bearishness overwhelms the sector, 20 Apr 16   Iron ore is on an insane run, copper’s dug itself out of January’s seven-year trough, tin and zinc are in bull markets, coking coal is heading for triple digits and crude’s holding onto 60% gains since February’s low despite the Doha disaster.


It’s having the worst start to a year in a decade. U3O8 is down more than 25% in 2016 with the UxC broker average price sliding to $25.69 a pound on Friday. That’s the cheapest uranium has been since May 2, 2005.

Haywood Securities in a  research note points out that the spot U3O8 price “saw three years of back-to-back double-digit percentage losses from 2011-13, but none worse than what we’ve seen thus far in 2016, and at no point since Fukushima, did the average weekly spot price dip below $28 a pound.” The long term price, where most uranium business is conducted, is languishing at around $44 a pound.

Uranium was actually the best performing commodity in 2015 by virtue of having declined in value only slightly over the course of the year. So what’s happening?

Vancouver-based Haywood attributes the decline to “a dearth of non-discretionary buying from utilities combined with an over-supplied market which continues to inflate global inventories, partially attributable to the continued shutdown of Japanese reactors and the ramp-up of production at selected uranium mines including Cigar Lake.”

Five years after the Japanese disaster only two of the country’s 50 nuclear reactors are back on line.  In other developed markets nuclear power is also in retreat.

Top user France which relies on its 58 plants for more than three-quarters of its electricity needs, has begun a program to reduce that figure to 50%.   Problems with next-generation plants developed by French state utility EDF and top supplier Areva are well-documented. Germany is phasing out the technology and the last new nuclear power station to enter service in the US was 20 years ago…….

Stockpiles at utilities were estimated at an already elevated 217,ooo tonnes uranium at the end of 2014. That translates into more than three years’ worth of feedstock for the world’s installed nuclear power capacity.

Special arrangements like top producer Kazakhstan’s uranium-sovereign debt deal with China leave little room for non-state players. ….

April 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Steaming hot world sets more temperature records, especially in Australia

The most abnormally hot regions of the world last month included Australia, which set a record with minimum temperatures almost 2 degrees above the average for 1961-90, while the Arctic region was about 3.3 degrees above average, NOAA said. 

global-warming1Worse things in store’: Steaming hot world sets more temperature records, The Age, April 20, 2016  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald

The Earth sizzled in March with the most unusually warm month in recorded history as average land surface temperatures easily exceeded levels deemed by scientists to constitute dangerous climate change.

The abnormal weather has continued into April as the most powerful tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Indian Ocean dumped rain at rates reaching 300 mm an hour, and Australian scientists declared the worst coral bleaching event ever on the Great Barrier Reef.

Combined global land and sea-surface temperatures in March were 1.22 degrees above the 20th-century average, beating the previous record for the month – set just a year earlier – by almost one-third of a degree, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Each of the past 11 months have now broken global temperature records, the longest such streak in the agency’s 137 years of data collection. Continue reading

April 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Electricity 4 times more than a city uses – produced by German solar city

Revolutionary: Germany Builds A Solar City That Produces Four Times More Energy Than It Consumes Mittal 14 Apr 16We have known cities to be great power-guzzlers, having a huge appetite for consuming electricity to power its homes and buildings. To generate electricity for such cities through renewable sources like solar becomes a difficult task given the vast amount of area required to place the solar panels. But a city in the heart of Germany has achieved something more incredible. It not only has made itself self-sufficient in energy, but in fact has become a net producer of energy – all thanks to a localized approach for adopting solar power.

solar citiy Frieburg Germany

The Solar cities of Germany:

The Sonnenschiff and Solarsiedlung cities located in Freiburg, Germany are modern, planned habitations that were worked upon with solar power in mind. Literally meaning Solar Ship and Solar Village, the Sonnenschiff and Solarsiedlung cities were specifically designed and built to be solar cities, balancing size, accessibility, green space, and solar exposure. Each of the fifty-two homes along with some commercial buildings is fitted with large rooftop solar panels that double-up as sun shades. The panels are perfectly aligned to point in the right direction of the sun, and the buildings follow the Passivhaus standards of green building technology.

The cities have been designed by architect Rolf Disch. Together with the latest photovoltaic technology for the panels that make them highly efficient, and use of phase-change materials and vacuum insulation for the walls of the buildings that provide optimum thermal performance, the cities are able to generate four times the power which they consume.

Solar Vs Nuclear:

The success of solar as an alternative to the polluting coal-fired power is not limited to these twin-cities. The entire area of Freiburg has been leading the country into a solar revolution since a long time. It was once on the crossroads of choosing between solar and nuclear as the preferred alternative source. Infact a nuclear power plant had already begun construction near Freiburg in early 1970s, amid protests from students and farmers who saw nuclear as a dangerous and polluting source of energy.

A major change in mindset of the local population came when an engineer Dieter Seifried started an institute to research into alternative forms of energy and popularized solar as a safe, reliable and efficient source. Seifried said regarding nuclear power in an interview to CBC news, “you will see first that it is not clean at all, second that it is expensive and third that we have a lot of unsolved problems like where do we deposit the waste.” Gradually more and more residents started to install rooftop solar panels on their houses and ditched the conventional power from grid. In 2000, Germany tabled a clean energy bill that forced power-companies to pay a set fee called a feed-in tariff to anybody providing power to the grid. This gave an impetus to the efforts of Seifried and others, and today, 30% of Germany’s electricity comes from renewable sources, mainly wind and solar. The nuclear plant being built in Freiburg was shut down soon after the protests, and after the unfortunate Fukushima meltdown in Japan in 2011, Germany has committed to phase out all 17 of its nuclear reactors by 2022.

The examples of Freiburg and the solar cities show how people themselves can own up the process of transitioning from conventional methods of energy generation to cleaner alternatives. The role of government in incentivizing renewable energy and providing access to technology is also very important. The Logical Indian gives a big thumbs-up to the residents of Freiburg for kickstarting the solar revolution in their country, and hopes that similar initiatives are taken up by people across the world.

April 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Paris Agreement signing ceremony at a glance

The Paris Agreement signing ceremony at a glance [good charts etc]

April 22, 2016 Leaders and diplomats from more than 160 countries are gathering at the United Nations’ New York headquarters on April 22 to sign the Paris Agreement – the landmark climate deal hammered out at the culmination of last year’s talks.

The ceremony marks the start of a year-long opportunity for countries to sign the agreement, although most of the world will sign on the opening day. But the process doesn’t end there – nations will still need to ratify the treaty domestically. Only when at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse emissions, have done so will the Paris deal become international law.

April 22, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment