Australian news, and some related international items

Thoughts about the #nuclear “Citizens’ Jury”

a-cat-CANWe all know that this Citizens’ Jury has been a tainted process all along, carefully manipulated to produce the “amber light” that Jay Weatherill wants. Still national awareness of this toxic plan is now awakening – and all we can do is to continue the fight. As Redgum said, last time the plan was raised “If you don’t fight, you lose”

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

A plea for the Nuclear Citizens’ Jury South Australia to be allowed to really act as a JURY

Citizens' Jury scrutinyTim Bickmore  Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia,  6 Nov 16 “What I would like to see happen tomorrow is every juror,at the start of the day, be given a small piece of paper and then asked to put where they stand on the paper, either NO or Yes or Maybe. then hand in the paper to DemCo. Results should be tallied, any vote with more than one word on it should be discarded as informal, and the results then revealed to the jury.
To me this is the only way to gauge the feeling of the entire group.
It will not happen of course.”

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

How Australian mining companies and governments grab Aboriginal land

text-from-the-archivesThe aggressive neo-liberal land grab is dividing Aboriginal communities and even brothers. As one Traditional Owner in the
Northern Territory told me recently, “these mining deals can give one or two families a big pay but generally they don’t improve the
community. Money goes on a few new cars and more grog comes in. We never see things get better but someone is getting very rich on our land.”

In the Kimberley and Pilbara in Western Australia, across the Northern Territory, on Cape York and in parts of NSW and South Australia, it is disturbing to see the divide and conquer tactics of mining companies and governments………..

Privatisation of land is the neo-liberal spearhead hurled deep into the heart of the traditional Aboriginal way of life……..
The Intervention’s extraordinary damage to the Aboriginal sense of control and wellbeing makes it the gravest policy disaster in
Australia since the removal of Aboriginal children in the Stolen  Generations.

highly-recommendedhandsoffTHE WAY AHEAD: The new land grab Tracker, BY JEFF MCMULLEN, JUNE 21, 2013 NATIONAL: Neo-liberalism is a
hungry beast and this 21st Century strain of capitalism is shaping the agenda for control of Aboriginal lands, writes JEFF MCMULLEN.

You only have to listen to Professor Marcia Langton’s Boyer Lectures on ABC Radio or read Noel Pearson’s sermons on acquisition to see how this virulent form of free-market fundamentalism has gathered influential adherents, including policy makers in both political

Australian Government policy is heavily influenced by neo-liberalism through its extraordinary emphasis on managing access for mining
companies to resources on Aboriginal lands. This involves controlling what is still perceived as ‘the Aboriginal problem’ and forcing a
social transition from traditional values and Cultural practice to ‘mainstream’ modernism of a particular brand. It also involves
displacing many Aboriginal people from their traditional lands and concentrating them in ‘growth towns’. Continue reading

November 5, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, reference, uranium | Leave a comment

Federal government, not South Australia, is responsible for decision on nuclear waste importing

radioactive trashTim Bickmore and … “According to the Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission South Australia  report;

…”While not prohibited under Federal laws, constructing a facility for storage or disposal of radioactive waste, would require approval from …the Nuclear Non-proliferation [Safeguard] Act 1987…. and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservationa Act 1999…as a ‘nuclear action’ likely to have a significant impact on the environment…and conveys approval authority on the Federal Minister for the Environment. It is not a regime specifically targetted to the regulation of nuclear facilities”
Yes, Yes or no, the Federal Minister of the Environment, should now make it public that The Federal Government, is looking into giving advice to the legality of the RC report recommendations, in relationship to environmental and Internatioanl non-poliferation, and is make it public to all Australians. This confirmation will show if SA is wasting time and money, before any other amendment to existing legislation are clearly and transparently put forward in SA, and before any further action is considered. As the tennis balls are all in Federal and International regulatory control.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

A Citizens’ Juror rejects the Nuclear Fuel Chain South Australia’s recommendations

thinkingTim Bickmore  Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 5 Nov 16, quotes from a juror 
“Dear Fellow Jurors
I have read the discussions but have not posted until now. I came to the Jury with an interest in being well informed on this issue and a mildly positive attitude towards the idea. I am now strongly against because
1. I reject the RC financial modelling because there are way too many unknowns.
2. The safety and financial risks for transport and above ground storage of high level waste without knowing if we have a suitable site, have consent from landowners, and can afford to dig the hole is just too great. We could end up being responsible for thousands of tons of high level waste to be managed at our cost and risk. Safety depends on rigorous regulation and I do not trust future governments not to privatise control or reduce funding to the regulator, resulting in accidents ( evidence WIPP for human error and sloppy regulation)
3. The aboriginal community are dead against the idea and will fight it to the high court, causing costs and delays even if they don’t win. Maybe it is time to honour their wishes on this important matter.
4. This scheme does not deliver jobs in great enough numbers or soon enough to be worth the risks. Better to invest in research and development of industries which contribute to employment , the health and wellbeing of the population and the state’s reputation as a clean food producer and a beautiful place to visit.
5. 120 years to completion is way too long. There will be developments that we cannot imagine in that time, including ways to deal with nuclear waste. IAEA will continue to work on that and a solution may well be found that makes this proposal redundant.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

Australia cannot pretend much longer that it is acting against climate change

Map Turnbull climateThe Paris climate deal has come into force – what next for Australia?, The Conversation, , 4 Nov 16   “………  From Paris to Australia Australia is expected to ratify the Agreement later this year. When it does so, it will be committing itself to regularly increasing its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, improve climate adaptation, and provide climate finance.

Like other nations, Australia will have to review and toughen its climate targets every five years, starting no later than 2020, and report back regularly on its efforts.

While Australia’s 2020 and 2030 emissions targets are seen as weak by international standards, doubts have still been expressed about the federal government’s ability to reach them.

Modelling suggests Australia’s emissions are projected to rise to 21% above 2005 levels by 2030 – rather than fall by the 26-28% proclaimed in its official target.

Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund has been criticised as being underfunded and focused on the wrong projects. Recent analysis of the contracts awarded through the scheme’s “reverse auctions” confirms that little real additional abatement has been achieved.

Moreover, likely future changes in land use and forestry (mainly reductions in land clearing) will be insufficient to achieve these goals in isolation or to contribute significantly to future ones. The current policy mix means that tougher – and perhaps even existing – national targets could only be met by buying international carbon credits.

In addition, Australia’s reports to the UN will have to reflect “environmental integrity, transparency, accuracy, completeness, comparability and consistency in accordance to rules to be adopted by parties to the Agreement”. The transparency and accountability of Australia’s emissions reporting was recently questioned by the United Nations and by other parties to the Climate Convention. This too will have to improve.

Like other parties, by 2020 Australia will also be invited to provide the UN Climate Secretariat with a long-term low-carbon strategy to run until 2050. Designing an effective transition strategy will require extensive consultation with state and territory governments, industries, and other stakeholders. Such attention to detail, although essential for building wide and deep support for a future low-carbon economy, has so far been well beyond the ability of politicians stuck in Canberra’s toxic climate policy culture.

In all, the Paris Agreement, although voluntary, can be thought of as a global climate safety net held by all nations. This inclusiveness means that Australia will no longer be able to point to the absence of other states as an excuse for its recalcitrance. It will increasingly be held to account by other nations, and the need for meaningful action will become ever more irresistible, as the net gradually tightens.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Nuclear Citizens’ Jury to present report to Premier Jay Weatherill

Citizens' Jury scrutinyJury to present report on nuclear dump   on November 5, 2016, 

The 350-member jury will gather for the last time in Adelaide on Saturday and Sunday as they seek to answer the question of under what circumstances, if any, could SA store and dispose of nuclear waste from other countries.

By Sunday afternoon, the group will present its report to Premier Jay Weatherill which is expected to summarise the key themes and considerations discussed by the jury over their six sitting days.

In its deliberations the jury has heard from experts, has considered the recommendations from the royal commission into the nuclear fuel cycle and has also examined feedback from three months of community consultation.

The state government has pledged to make a decision on the the dump issue by the end of the year but to proceed much further will require a change of Labor Party policy at both a state and federal level.

Last weekend the state Labor conference voted to put the issue to a special convention.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

A Nuclear Citizens’ Jury member thinks about CONSENT

thinkingTim Bickmore    Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 5 Nov 16 quotes from a Jury member ,  “….. I want to be assured by the government that any report drafted during this process will not be considered to substitute or abrogate the rights of other citizens who were not able to participate in this process. We have not been told how social consent will be obtained and the Premier has expressed opposition to a referendum, which has historically been used when significant legislative amendments which affected the rights of citizens have been proposed. How can I say go ahead and change the laws on behalf of other citizens? It is my strongly held view that I cannot, and indeed should not.

Our ability to give or withhold consent goes to human dignity, which is a fundamental human right. Much more needs to be done to obtain it, before any more South Australian public money is laid down by the government on this issue. ”

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury | Leave a comment

The Nuclear Royal Commission will be remembered as a hypocrisy

Tim Bickmore  0750/ Nuclear Citizens Jury Watch South Australia, 4 Nov 16 

CJ Message Board Nov4 by Yuri Poetzl “Any One Game to Touch This One? When this Nuclear Royal Commission saga gets reviewed down the track, I anticipate snippets of this footage will be featured in documentaries.

I know you are all busy, but you might want spare a couple of minutes and watch this you-tube clip of Kevin Scarces  2014 Investigator Lecture – Rear Admiral the Honourable Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN Rtd

At the 39 minute mark ol’ mate Kev starts talking about expanding SA’s nuclear involvement. At the 47.30 mark he seems to admit being an advocate for the nuclear industry!

This was filmed before he was selected as Royal Commissioner and seems to contradict his later claims of impartiality. Does this diminish his credibility?

Under the Royal Commissions Act:   Royal Commissions are obliged to act with procedural fairness. This includes observing the rules of natural justice, which require an unbiased Commission…

Have the SA public received natural justice?

Have we been issued a fair and unbiased assessment of the Nuclear Industry, or have we been issued an extensive and expensive sales brochure?

The Royal Commission was over seen by Attorney General John Rau. Mr Rau has previously labelled community groups as “morons”.

I wonder what he thinks of citizen’s juries?”

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear Citizens Jury, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016 | Leave a comment

Australia’s ignominious opposition to UN resolution towards nuclear disarmament

Clearly, Australia, Japan and South Korea voted in solidarity with their U.S. nuclear protector and against the overwhelming sentiment of their Asian and Pacific neighbors as well as against global opinion. Being on the wrong side of geography as well as history is not a good look. Their vote might also attract charges of hypocrisy the next time they criticize North Korea’s nuclear program

Rattling the nuclear cage, and look who is terrified,
Japan Times,  BY  , 4 Nov 16, “…….on Oct. 27 the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly adopted, by the overwhelming vote of 123-38 (with 16 abstentions), Resolution A/C.1/71/L.41, which calls for negotiations on a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination.” Two conferences will be convened next year in New York (March 27 to 31 and June 15 to July 7). The resolution fulfills the 127-nation humanitarian pledge “to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.”
The strengthening international sentiment was evident at the U.N. working group’s disarmament meeting in Geneva in August when Australia angered many countries by insisting on a recorded vote instead of approving a consensus report calling for negotiations on a ban to begin in 2017. Continue reading

November 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America’s stranded waste problem – a warning for South Australia

Advocates Protest  In their letter, the plan’s opponents argue that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 bars the federal government from taking responsibility for interim waste in the absence of a federal repository.

the concept of interim storage came out of the Obama Administration’s Blue Ribbon Commission on nuclear waste.


Meanwhile, the Energy Department remains decades away from developing a permanent repository.

stranded.At nearly every meeting of the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel, residents line up to ask whether sea air might cause corrosion in the casks, what the chance of leakage is, and who’s responsible if the casks degrade

As the amount of waste grows, so does the government’s liability……….The government’s estimated total liability is $29 billion.”That’s probably low, because it’s getting more expensive to store this stuff,”

Nuclear Plants Closing Early Leave Decades of Toxic Waste Stranded  ctraywick    markchediak November 4, 2016 —

  • U.S. government has no permanent repository for spent fuel
  • 76,000 metric tons of waste stored at commercial sites Continue reading

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The importance of USA’s election for climate and energy

USA election 2016What the election outcome will really mean for climate and climate-changeenergy, WP,  November 3 You haven’t heard it much in the media, but this election is likely to have large consequences for how the United States, and perhaps the world, addresses climate change. And that is simply because the candidates’ positions contrast sharply on the matter, and because the world has begun an ambitious emissions reduction regime under the Paris climate accord that only one of the candidates wants to continue.

Donald Trump, in an interview with the Washington Post’s editorial board in March, said he is “not a big believer in man-made climate change.” And Trump has said that if elected he would “cancel” the Paris climate agreement – which enters into force on Friday, Nov 4. He has also stood up strongly for the U.S. fossil fuel industries, and especially the struggling coal sector.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, wants to continue and extend Obama’s climate policies, including striving to reach the U.S.’s Paris agreement target of cutting our greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent or more below 2005 levels by 2025. She also wants to, as she has put it many times, make the U.S. a “clean energy superpower” by stoking growth of the solar and wind industries.

That’s quite a contrast. But at the same time, and as many have noted, the mainstream presidential election discussion of the past two months, and especially the presidential debates, has tended to ignore all of this. Continue reading

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Paris climate deal now in force

logo Paris climate1The Paris climate deal has come into force – what next for Australia?, The Conversation, , 4 Nov 16, The Paris climate agreement comes into legal force today, just 11 months after it was concluded and 30 days after it met its ratification threshold of 55 parties accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

By contrast, the Kyoto Protocol, which this treaty now replaces, took more than 8 years to come into force, slowed by the United States’ persistent and erosive opposition.

At the time of writing, the Agreement has been ratified by 94 parties, including the world’s four largest emitters: China, the United States, the European Union and India. As Climate Analytics reports, these nations account for 66% of greenhouse emissions. Even if the United States were to withdraw its support under a Trump presidency, the Paris Agreement will remain in force……..

a legal hybrid that obliges parties to abide by processes, mechanisms and timetables for setting and reviewing their national climate targets, and providing climate finance to developing countries.

But the treaty doesn’t compel those national efforts collectively to meet its core aims: to keep global warming well below 2℃ and as close as possible to 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels; to peak global emissions as soon as possible; and to reach zero net global emissions in the second half of this century. Worse still, the currently pledged targets would deliver some 3℃ of overall warming by the end of this century.

Because the treaty relies on “intended” national climate targets rather than binding ones, much hinges on the success of the requirement for nations to review and toughen them every five years. The theory is that these global stocktakes of collective progress (beginning with a facilitative dialogue among parties in 2018) will generate enough pressure for individual nations to be encouraged to ratchet up their efforts as they go.

For these reasons – because of its emphasis on process and its lack of compliance mechanisms – the Agreement has been described as a promissory note, or prematurely criticised as inadequate…….

while there will be more celebrations at this year’s UN climate summit, which begins in Marrakech on Monday, negotiators and UN bureaucrats have been caught out. In some senses, the Paris Agreement is a framework agreement within a Framework Agreement (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, of which this is a subsidiary part). It’s a work in progress with lots of details yet to be filled in.

The newly formed Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement will be scrambling to define key elements governing the new treaty’s implementation. Many of these elements are critical to the treaty’s long-term effectiveness. They include measures to ensure transparent and effective accounting of countries’ emissions reductions; to work out exactly how the ambition of “zero net emissions” will be met; and to transfer crucial economic measures used under the Kyoto Protocol over to the new framework.

The Agreement requests that this be done by the first session of the Conference of the Parties to the new treaty. As this now will occur in Marrakech, time is too short and such labour is likely to continue through 2017 and perhaps beyond……….

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The global nuclear lobby gears up to influence UN climate talks

Buy politiciansNuclear community gets ready for Paris Agreement WNN  04 November 2016 Countries planning to use nuclear power to meet their climate change goals will pool experience as part of a forthcoming research effort by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Paris Agreement entered into force today, committing governments to limiting global warming to 2 deg C and, if possible, 1.5 deg C.

The IAEA told journalists today that it is starting to “Coordinate research efforts of member states on the assessment of the potential role of nuclear in their climate change mitigation strategies.” It will cover various analytical methods, frameworks and strategies.

Loreta Stankeviciute of the IAEA’s Planning and Economic Studies Section will oversee the work. She said research “would include aspects such as energy planning but also focus on the assessment and effectiveness of support mechanisms that were mentioned under the Paris Agreement such as domestic policies and carbon prices in order to identify key barriers and develop approaches to address those investments in low carbon technologies.”

The head of the Planning and Economic Studies Section, David Shropshire, said IAEA tools were generalised enough to be used for any kind of energy development, not just nuclear power. To make best use of the tools, it has recently signed a practical arrangement with the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). The focus of cooperation between the two UN agencies has been Africa, but could be expanded anywhere, said Shropshire…..

the World Nuclear Association made clear the industry’s readiness to work for the Paris goals…… It said that industry has endorsed a goal of supplying 25% of the world’s electricity with nuclear generation by 2050, a target that will require the construction of 1000 GWe of new nuclear capacity.

Shropshire said, “It’s up to each member state to decide for themselves how much [the role of nuclear] is going to be.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian Energy Market Operator blaming wind industry for it’s own mistakes

wind-farm-evil-1SA blackout: Wind farm industry ‘hung out to dry’ by energy market operator AEMO  RN By David Lewis for Background Briefing , 4 Nov 16, The organisation that manages the national electricity market has been accused of leaving wind farms “hung out to dry” after the recent statewide blackout in South Australia.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is still investigating the cause of the blackout, which plunged 1.7 million people into darkness on Wednesday, September 28.

The catastrophic power outage sparked furious disagreement about whether the state’s heavy reliance on wind farms contributed to the event.

Giles Parkinson, a veteran journalist and founder of the website RenewEconomy, believes AEMO has added fuel to the fire in a deliberate attempt to deflect attention away from its own role.

“I think people are quite confused about what the market operator seems to be doing and I think some people think it’s more interested in protecting its own reputation at this stage than getting to the bottom of it,” he said.

“It’s basically left the wind industry hung out to dry, leaving enough inference in there for people who do not favour wind to find it guilty and write and declare all sorts of things about the wind industry and the weakness of wind energy.”……..

AEMO made ‘foolhardy’ decisions

Mr Parkinson said he believed the emotionally charged wind-versus-coal debate is distracting from the mistakes AEMO made when preparing for the storm.

He pointed out that when assessing the severity of the approaching weather system, AEMO decided against declaring a “credible contingency”.

“In other words, (AEMO) saw no risk to the transmission or the generation assets despite the fact this storm was approaching and it was packing wind speeds well beyond the stated limits of many of the wind farms that were operating at the time.”

Had AEMO declared a “credible contingency”, it could have intervened in the market by reducing the amount of electricity being produced by generators, including the interconnector to Victoria.

“It was basically running the interconnector not at full throttle but pretty close to full throttle,” Mr Parkinson said……..

David Leitch, the principal at electricity consultancy firm ITK, said he agreed.

“The Heywood interconnector could have been derated an hour earlier so that when the wind generation went off, the Heywood interconnector could have picked up more electricity from Victoria and put it in and that probably would have helped a lot,” he told Background Briefing…….

AEMO unaware of safety settings

AEMO has also been criticised for not having enough information about the safety settings on wind turbines across the state.

In its second report into the blackout, the market operator admits it had no idea how many system faults individual wind farms could ride through before shutting down.

Kobad Bhavnagri, the head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Australia, described this gap in knowledge as one of the “big issues” with AEMO’s handling of the disaster.

“Now the question is did AEMO have a duty to know about those settings? If not, why not?” he said……..

November 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, wind | 1 Comment