Australian news, and some related international items

Another week in climate and nuclear news

a-cat-CANThere’s an uncanny echo of the 1930s in the rise of extreme right wing politics in the Western world today. “I will make America great again” – says Donald Trump. And how many other strident voices are gathering mass support with a similar simplistic message, in other countries?

Donald Trump – the triumph of narcissism. Like the attention-seeking child in the classroom, with all eyes upon him, Trump captures the attention of the world, (this probably his main goal).  Some hope that, as USA President, his intelligent, gently spoken, kindly, side will prevail. Ralph Nader doubts this.

Meanwhile historic international meetings on climate change and on nuclear weapons ban are happening. Nearly winter at North Pole– but 36 degrees warmer than normal


Prime Minister Turnbull toes the complacency line, in the rush to “normalise” Trump. Why he’s a “businessman, like Turnbull” “, and of course we all know that businessmen are the best people to run the country! In a radio interview Turnbull criticised the “elite media” three times. I think that he means the ABC, SBS, and any media that has the effrontery to criticise the government, or praise Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs.   “Elite” is now a dirty word, implying intelligent and well-informed- we can’t have that attitude!

CLIMATE.  Australia Labelled A ‘Laggard’ On Cutting Climate Pollution. Australia near the bottom of the list in international climate policies.  Michael Marmot on the health risks of climate change. Former liberal leader John Hewson urges Turnbull govt to switch to a bright renewable energy future.

NUCLEAR Introduction to the newest South Australian nuclear front – Ben Heard’s ‘Bright New World’. Australia on the wrong side of nuclear disarmament history. Helen Caldicott, Australian hero of nuclear-free New Zealand.

South Australia.

Queensland. Urgent need for public education and action on fluoridation of Queensland’s water.



November 19, 2016 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Legal obstacles – State,National, and International, to Australia importing nuclear wastes

legal actionNuclear waste debate re-emerges in Australia. Moulis Legal 17.11.16

“…….A long history of talk but with little “legal” support

South Australia’s proposal to encourage the world to export its high-level nuclear waste to Australia is in stark contrast to the previous positions of both the Federal and South Australian Governments. Moreover, significant reform to State laws and to existing Federal practice would be required to facilitate the proposal, none of which has been formulated.

In 1998, the responsible Federal Minister condemned a recommendation by nuclear waste management consortium Pangea Resources for a repository for international high-level nuclear waste in the Western Australian outback. He reiterated Australia’s long-standing bipartisan opposition to such a development:

…no high level radioactive waste facility is planned for Australia and the government has absolutely no intention of accepting the radioactive waste of other countries. The policy is clear and absolute and will not be changed. We will not be accepting radioactive waste from other countries.1

Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Nearly winter in Arctic – but 36 degrees warmer than normal

The North Pole is an insane 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends, WP,  November 17 Political people in the United States are watching the chaos in Washington in the moment. But some people in the science community are watching the chaos somewhere else — the Arctic.


It’s polar night there now — the sun isn’t rising in much of the Arctic. That’s when the Arctic is supposed to get super-cold, when the sea ice that covers the vast Arctic Ocean is supposed to grow and thicken.

But in fall of 2016 — which has been a zany year for the region, with multiple records set for low levels of monthly sea ice — something is totally off. The Arctic is super-hot, even as a vast area of cold polar air has been displaced over Siberia.

At the same time, one of the key indicators of the state of the Arctic — the extent of sea ice covering the polar ocean — is at a record low. The ice is freezing up again, as it always does this time of year after reaching its September low, but it isn’t doing so as rapidly as usual.

In fact, the ice’s area is even lower than it was during the record-low 2012:

Twitter’s expert Arctic watchers also are stunned. Zack Labe, a PhD student at the University of California at Irvine who studies the Arctic, tweeted out an image on Wednesday from the Danish Meteorological Institute showing Arctic temperatures about 20 degrees Celsius higher than normal above 80 degrees North Latitude.

“Today’s latest #Arctic mean temperature continues to move the wrong direction . . . up. Quite an anomalous spike!,” Labe wrote. Here’s the figure: [on original]

“Despite onset of #PolarNight, temperatures near #NorthPole increasing. Extraordinary situation right now in #Arctic, w/record low #seaice,” added Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA.

This is the second year in a row that temperatures near the North Pole have risen to freakishly warm levels. During 2015’s final days, the temperature near the Pole spiked to the melting point thanks to a massive storm that pumped warm air into the region.

So what’s going on here?

“It’s about 20C [36 degrees Fahrenheit] warmer than normal over most of the Arctic Ocean, along with cold anomalies of about the same magnitude over north-central Asia,” Jennifer Francis, an Arctic specialist at Rutgers University, said by email Wednesday…….

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Liberal Party united in opposition to a nuclear waste import industry

logo-LiberalSteven Marshall: The Liberals are united in our decision to oppose a nuclear waste industry but the Weatherill Labor Government is not Steven Marshall, The Advertiser

November 19, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

World faces an even more dangerous nuclear future, with Donald Trump as US President

TrumpThat so much power over the U.S. nuclear arsenal is placed in the hands of one man – any man – bodes ill for humanity, while completely undermining the war power granted to Congress in the U.S. constitution.  That the man in question should be Donald Trump, with all his personal flaws, challenges the United States and the world as never before in human history.

Trump, Nuclear Weapons and the Human Future, CounterPunch,  “………The most positive policy proposal Trump will bring to the table as president is his desire to improve and strengthen relations between the U.S. and Russia, which have deteriorated badly in recent years.  This is one hopeful sign that could lead to renewed efforts by the two countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals and reverse current plans to modernize these arsenals.

The Numerous Negatives

Trump’s behavior during the presidential campaign was often erratic, seemingly based on discernable personality traits, including narcissism, arrogance, impulsiveness, and a lack of predictability.  If these traits provide a fair characterization of Trump’s personality, what do they suggest for his control of the U.S. nuclear arsenal? Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Economics Consulting Group reports on the diseconomics of importing nuclear waste to South Australia

scrutiny-on-wastes-sa-bankruptNew expert report on dump causes major problems for Weatherill 16 November 2016

Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today a new expert study into the nuclear waste dump will cause major problems for Mr Weatherill as it raises significant concerns and questions about the financial assumptions of the project.

The report by international nuclear experts Nuclear Economics Consulting Group was released today by the Joint Parliamentary Committee and makes it clear that the claimed revenue of $257 billion and costs of $145 billion by the Weatherill Government cannot be relied upon.

“This report is a severe embarrassment for Mr Weatherill as it makes it clear the Weatherill Government leaks to the media on the weekend were selective, deceptive and an attempt to grossly mislead the public,” said Mr Lucas.

The report notes:

  • That ‘under some Project approaches” South Australian taxpayers might have to spend even more than $600 million and still decide not to proceed with the dump.
  • The Jacobs report doesn’t even consider the costs of some important issues which “have significant serious potential to adversely impact the Project and its commercial outcomes.”
  • Assumptions about price are “overly optimistic” and if that is the case “project profitability is seriously at risk”.
  • The 25% cost contingency for delays and blowouts is likely to be a significant underestimate.
  • The assumption the Project would capture 50% of the available market had “little support or justification”.

Almost every page of this expert report lists further questions and concerns about the critical assumptions underpinning the projections.

“Whilst the report finds that the project could be profitable ‘under certain assumptions’ it then raises serious questions about most of those assumptions. It also concluded that ‘informed decision making will require a more extensive assessment that includes what was explicitly excluded in the Jacobs report.’

“It is now clear that weekend claims by the Weatherill Government that this report had ‘verified’ the Royal Commission’s figures and “backed Commission findings of $257 billion in revenue are a grotesque distortion of the report.

“In fact, this report ‘blows a hole’ in Mr Weatherill’s vision of a nuclear waste dump future for South Australia and backs Liberal concerns about the financial assumptions of the Project.”

November 19, 2016 Posted by | NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Europe’s new rules about exporting nuclear waste are RELEVANT TO AUSTRALIA

Under the new law, export to countries outside the EU will be allowed but only under strict and binding conditions.  

antnuke-relevantThe third country must have a final deep geological repository in operation when the waste is shipped.

At present, such deep geological repositories do not exist anywhere in the world nor is a repository in construction outside of the EU.

Europe Adopts Long-Term Nuclear Waste Storage Law     BRUSSELS, Belgium, July 19, 2011  For the first time, the European Union has committed itself to the final disposal of its nuclear waste. Heads of government today adopted the radioactive waste and spent fuel management directive, “in order to avoid imposing undue burdens on future generations.”…..

The directive will enter into force at the latest in September of this year. Member States will have two years to transpose its provisions into their national laws.

By 2015, governments must submit their first national programs to the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, which will examine them and can require changes……


Some 7,000 cubic meters of high-level nuclear waste are produced across the EU each year. Most Member States store spent fuel and other highly radioactive wastes in above-ground storage facilities that need continuous maintenance and oversight and are at risk of accidents, such as airplane crashes, fires or earthquakes. Hungary and Bulgaria currently ship nuclear waste to Russia.

In its most controversial provision, the new law allows export of nuclear waste to countries outside the EU. In its initial proposal, the Commission had advocated a complete export ban.

On June 23, 2011, the European Parliament in its plenary session voted in favor of a complete export ban as proposed by the Commission. In a close vote, MEPs backed a ban on exports of nuclear waste to non-EU countries, with 311 votes in favor, 328 against and seven abstentions.

However, the European Council today approved a version of the directive that allows export. Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, NUCLEAR ROYAL COMMISSION 2016, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima worker with cancer takes legal action against TEPCO

legal actionCancer patient compensated for Fukushima work to sue TEPCO THE ASAHI SHIMBUN November 18, 2016 A 42-year-old man diagnosed with leukemia after working at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant plans to sue Tokyo Electric Power Co., saying the utility failed to take adequate precautions against radiation exposure.

He will also sue Kyushu Electric Power Co., operator of the Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture where he had also worked, in the lawsuit expected to be filed at the Tokyo District Court on Nov. 22.

The man, who is from Kita-Kyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture, will demand about 59 million yen ($541,000) in total compensation from the two utilities. Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Interfaith Climate Statement presented by world religious leaders at UN climate talks

logo Paris climate1World religious leaders present joint statement to UN climate talks
At the UN climate talks on Wednesday, a senior member of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Change Support Team received the COP22 Interfaith Climate Statement, signed by more than 230 eminent religious leaders from 44 countries. The Statement called on nations to justly manage the transition to a low carbon economy and urged for governments to shift trillions of investments in fossil fuels into renewable energy, in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).The Statement is consistent with the Secretary General’s continued strong call for redirecting investments into clean energy, including clean energy access. “As a means to speed up the transition to a low carbon economy,” the Secretary General told 500 global investors at the 2016 Investor Summit on Climate Risk, “Markets now have the clear signal they need to unleash the full force of human ingenuity and scale up investments that can generate low-emissions resilient growth.”

The Statement was drafted and distributed in collaboration with more than thirty faith groups globally. Signatories of the Statement include His Holiness the Dalai Lama; Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences; Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches; Sayyid M. Syeed, Islamic Society of North America; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and over 230 other faith leaders from around the globe. Other signatories include senior Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Sikh, , Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Episcopal, Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, Indigenous and other Spiritual leaders.

At the Summit of Religious and Secular Leaders on Climate Change, Ban Ki-Moon said the potential impact of the faith sector was enormous, describing them as the “third largest category of investor, that can establish green religious buildings. Invest ethically in sustainable products. And set an example for the lifestyles of billions of people, whose actions can encourage political leaders to act more boldly in protecting people and the planet.” Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Islamic Society of North America to divest from fossil fuel industries

climate action IslamIslamic Society of North America Announces Divest-Invest Commitment Statement of Dr. Azhar Azeez
President of the Islamic Society of North America
   9 Safar 1438 AH/10 November 2016

ISNA was proud to have been an important part of the organizing of the Marrakech Conference back in April of this year at which scholars and Muslim leaders from around the globe affirmed the message of the Prophet Muhammed (AS) Suluh Medina (Charter) as a model and basis for interfaith cooperation common action as we strive for a better and more fair and just world.

ISNA also has a proud tradition of partnering with other national faith communities on issues and causes of justice including the Shoulder-To-Shoulder Campaign and most recently signing along with other national and world faith leaders the COP 22 Interfaith Climate Statement to be presented in Marrakech today.

“According to Islam’s most basic and fundamental teachings, human beings have been uniquely charged with the great responsibility of being Guardians and Caretakers of the Earth. It goes against the overall service based mission ISNA, to invest in fossil fuel companies whose operations and products cause such grave harm to humanity and to Creation and ISNA commits herself to this cause.”

The Islamic Society of North America is the largest US Muslim umbrella organization.  Established in 1963 as the Muslim Students Association of the US and Canada, ISNA’s affiliate and constituent organizations include the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA), Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (ASME), Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), Council of Islamic Schools of North America (CISNA), Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA).  For information about ISNA, see

Contact:  Imam Saffet Abid Catovic, Board Member, ISNA Green Mosque Task Force;

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Historic court case to go ahead; young climate activists sue USA government

Flag-USAjusticeJudge Won’t Dismiss Youth Climate Lawsuit; Stage Set for Historic Trial , 17 November 2016 By Dana DrugmandTruthout | Report As global temperature continues to rise — with 2016 slated to set a new high for the third consecutive year — young climate activists are rising to the occasion and breaking new legal ground. Finally, a landmark youth-led climate change lawsuit may move forward to trial.

On November 10, 2016, US District Court Judge Ann Aiken ruled in favor of 21 youth plaintiffs suing the federal government over its inadequate action to prevent anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD).

“It’s clear Judge Aiken gets what’s at stake for us,” said 17-year-old plaintiff Victoria Barrett, from White Plains, New York. “Our planet and our generation don’t have time to waste. If we continue on our current path, my school in Manhattan will be underwater in 50 years.”

Judge Aiken rejected defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, following the recommendation made by magistrate judge Thomas Coffin last April. Judge Coffin determined that the youths had standing and had potential constitutional and public trust claims. Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australia part of the global green movement to fight Trump on climate change

In Australia, the Trump victory is driving an intensified focus from environmentalists to put a stop to a proposed coalmine there, which would be the biggest in the already coal-rich nation, and one of the biggest in the world.

Global green movement prepares to fight Trump on climate change
Election of a climate sceptic as US president sparks outpouring of donations and a surge in planned protests and court challenges,
Guardian, , 19 Nov 16, The global green movement is preparing for the fight of its life against efforts by Donald Trump to rollback action on climate change, with a surge in fundraising, planned court challenges and a succession of protests. Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Donald Trump will fill environmental positions with climate deniers

trump-worldTrump begins filling environmental posts with clowns 17 November 2016 by John Abraham Come on, you can admit it. I admit it. I admit that after Trump’s election victory, I secretly hoped and even though that his rhetoric was worse than its bite. He only said those crazy things during the campaign to get elected. He wouldn’t really follow through on his plans to completely gut the US commitment to keeping the Earth habitable. Oh how naive we were. Trump’s plan to fill positions in his administration shows things are worse than we could have ever feared.

According to recent reports, Trump has picked long-time climate denier and spokesperson for the fossil fuel industry Myron Ebell to head the Environmental Protection Agency transition. This basically means the EPA will either cease to function or cease to exist. It also appears that the US will pull out of any agreements to limit greenhouse emissions.  Continue reading

November 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Serious’ alarm at Rio Tinto scandal

Mining giant Rio Tinto has come under attack from the World Bank over a $US10 million corruption scandal…. (subscribers only) .

November 19, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Next big thing: Selling solar power to neighbours

People without solar cells are choosing to pay a premium for solar power generated by their neighbours...(subscribers only)

November 19, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment