Australian news, and some related international items

Malcolm Turnbull backs importing foreign nuclear waste

Turnbull nuclearAustralia could store nuclear waste for other countries, Malcolm Turnbull says, Guardian, , 28 Oct 2015,  PM tells Adelaide radio that he was sceptical Australia would ever build nuclear power stations, but a larger role in nuclear fuel industry was worth exploring  Australia should “look closely” at expanding its role in the global nuclear energy industry, including leasing fuel rods to other countries and then storing the waste afterwards, Malcolm Turnbull has said…….Turnbull made the observations in a radio interview on Wednesday, a day after he named Dr Alan Finkel, a vocal advocate of nuclear power and the outgoing chancellor of Monash University, as Australia’s next chief scientist…..

“we’ve got the uranium [and] we mine it; why don’t we process it, turn it into the fuel rods, lease them to people overseas; when they’re done, bring them back – and we’ve got very stable geology in remote locations and a stable political environment – and store them?”

“That is a business that you could well imagine here.”…….

Turnbull is seeking to bolster the Liberal party’s popularity in South Australia, where the government suffered political difficulties after his predecessor, Tony Abbott, backed away from a pre-election promise to build 12 submarines locally……

June 22, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Green preferences help Labor in the coming election: voting Green is not a waste

greensThe Major Party Myth That Stops People Voting For The Greens  By  on June 21, 2016
The Liberal Coalition and Labor both want you to think that a vote for our party, or an independent candidate, is a wasted vote. Nothing could be further from the truth, writes Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

There are hundreds of thousands of Australian voters who think the Greens have the better policies on issues such as climate change and refugees, but they end up voting for the Labor Party instead. They do this out of fears arising from a lack of understanding of the preference voting system used for the House of Representatives. This mindset also holds back the Greens’ Senate vote.

The crux of the unfounded fear for many progressive voters is the false belief that voting for the Greens ahead of Labor may somehow help the Liberal/National parties win the lower house seat and government.

Of course, if the Greens dropped out of the count and it came down to a contest between the Labor and Coalition candidates as it usually does, any voter who had given the Greens their number 1 vote and placed the Labor candidate ahead of the Coalition, would have their vote allocated to the Labor candidate at full value when Greens’ preferences were distributed.

There is no wasted vote in that. It is a safe way to send a message to Labor and help stop the Coalition candidate being elected. Continue reading

June 22, 2016 Posted by | election 2016 | Leave a comment

Clean Energy Finance Corporation now being used as Coalition election slush fund

logo CEFCHow the Coalition is using clean energy financing as an election slushUSA election 2016 fund
Some in the sector fear the government is trying to defund the Clean Energy Finance Corporation by stealth. The truth may be a little more mundane,
Guardian, , 20 June 16 

After trying in vain to dismantle the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Coalition is now using Labor’s $10bn financing scheme as an election slush fund, throwing its money at the Great Barrier Reef, at “smart cities” and even at the steel industry in South Australia.

These announcements left some clean energy sector experts crying foul, saying the government was trying to squeeze the CEFC for every last drop, and defund it by stealth.

That might be the case but the truth could be more mundane. The announcements probably amount to little, leaving the spending pledges bereft of substance – but equally doing little to harm the CEFC.

By anyone’s reckoning, the CEFC has been a success. According to its 2015 annual report, it invested $1.4bn, financing projects worth a total of $3.5bn, which would reduce 4.2m tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions annually. And it did all that while making a profit.

But under the Tony Abbott, who called the CEFC “Bob Brown’s bank”, the Coalition tried unsuccessfully to abolish it, tried unlawfully to stop it operating, and tried – also possibly unlawfully – to stop it investing in windfarms and small-scale solar.

When Turnbull became prime minister he conceded the government had failed to abolish the CEFC but stopped short of giving it his backing……

But now it is certainly playing a crucial role in Turnbull’s re-election campaign. Continue reading

June 22, 2016 Posted by | election 2016 | Leave a comment

USA energy company and Friends of the Earth reach historic agreement to switch from nuclear to renewables

logo-FOEFlag-USADiablo Canyon nuclear plant to be shut down, power replaced by renewables, efficiency, storage California, world’s sixth largest economy, going nuclear-free June 21, 2016 BERKELEY, CALIF

An historic agreement has been reached between Pacific Gas and Electric, Friends of the Earth, and other environmental and labor organizations to replace the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors with greenhouse-gas-free renewable energy, efficiency and energy storage resources. Friends of the Earth says the agreement provides a clear blueprint for fighting climate change by replacing nuclear and fossil fuel energy with safe, clean, cost-competitive renewable energy. 

The agreement, announced today in California, says that PG&E will renounce plans to seek renewed operating licenses for Diablo Canyon’s two reactors — the operating licenses for which expire in 2024 and 2025 respectively. In the intervening years, the parties will seek Public Utility Commission approval of the plan which will replace power from the plant with renewable energy, efficiency and energy storage resources. Base load power resources like Diablo Canyon are becoming increasingly burdensome as renewable energy resources ramp up. Flexible generation options and demand-response are the energy systems of the future. Continue reading

June 22, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Carbon dioxide hits record highs in Southern hemisphere

climate-changeScience Daily June 21, 2016 Source: CNRS

Last month, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) as measured at Amsterdam Island, in the southern Indian Ocean, for the first time exceeded the symbolic value of 400 ppm, or 0.04%. The CO2 concentrations recorded at the Amsterdam Island research station are the lowest in the world (excluding seasonal cycles), due to the island’s remoteness from anthropogenic sources. The 400 ppm threshold was already crossed in the Northern hemisphere during the 2012/2013 winter. In addition, the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is speeding up, growing by more than 2 ppm annually over the past four years……..

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