Australian news, and some related international items

Conflict of interest as Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) board members approve $1bn to Adani coal project

five of the seven Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) board members have what it calls “strong ties” to the mining industry.

Adani’s Carmichael coalmine doesn’t meet infrastructure fund criteria, says Greenpeace

Analysis says $1bn of commonwealth funding would amount to paying $683,000 for each job generated, Guardian, , 21 Dec 16, Adani’s coal infrastructure should not be given money from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund since it does not meet at least two of the mandatory criteria, according to analysis by Greenpeace. Continue reading

December 23, 2016 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Uranium stocks surge as Trump supports increased nuclear weaponry

antnuke-relevantDonald Trump Is the Stock Market’s Most Interesting Man, Bloomberg, by Joseph Ciolli
 and  Lily Katz 23 Dec 16, 

  • Uranium ETF surges right after post as underlying shares soar
  • Icahn pick moves stocks the investor has previously rebuked

Donald Trump’s still the most interesting man in the world for U.S. stock investors.

A Twitter post from the President-elect signaling support for beefing up America’s nuclear arsenal sent shares in uranium miners surging……..

Trump’s call for expanded nuclear capability erased a loss of 2 percent in an exchange-traded fund tracking a basket of uranium miners. Uranium Energy Corp. climbed as much as 14 percent intraday to lead gains in the fund, while Mega Uranium Ltd. and Laramide Resources Ltd. are on pace to gain more than 3.7 percent…….

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. shares have surged 32 percent, touching the highest since 2007 this week, to lead financial shares higher on speculation Trump will roll back industry regulations. Goldman alumni dot the billionaire’s inner circle, with his picks for Treasury secretary, economic adviser and chief strategist all having ties to the investment bank………

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons makers’ shares rise as Trump goes for more nuclear

Trump Goes Nuclear, But This Time Lockheed, Northrop, Raytheon Rise  President-elect Donald Trump tweeted about the importance of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to recapitalize, potentially giving defense giants like Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOC), Raytheon (RTN) and Boeing (BA) some hope that he won’t cost-shame them on that piece of the Pentagon budget America’s nuclear triad of air-, land- and sea-based delivery systems is nearing the end of its life span and needs to be replaced. But that won’t come cheaply.


Over the summer, the Air Force released its requests for proposals for intercontinental ballistic missiles to replace Boeing’s aging Minuteman system. The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent’s estimated cost is $62 billion over 30 years, but a report from the Pentagon’s office of independent cost assessment said the Air Force’s estimate is too low by “billions of dollars,” sources told Bloomberg.

The Air Force is also seeking Long-Range Standoff nuclear cruise missiles to replace Boeing AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missiles. That program’s cost has been estimated at $20 billion-$30 billion.

Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop and Lockheed are expected to bid on the two contracts, and initial contracts could be awarded next year.

Last year, Northrop was awarded a contract to build the B-21 bomber that replaces the Cold War-era Boeing B-52s. The Air Force has put the development-phase cost for the B-21 at $23.5 billion, but analysts have estimated the total acquisition cost at up to $80 billion. The Navy’s program to replace its Ohio-class submarines, which can launch nuclear missiles, will cost the service $100 billion.

Shares of defense contractors reversed higher after early, narrow losses. Lockheed shares edged up 0.1% on the stock market today, Northrop added 0.3%, and Raytheon rose 0.5%. Boeing gained 0.1%. General Dynamics (GD) and Huntington Ingalls (HII), which build submarines, were up 0.3% and 2.1%, respectively.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Resources Minister Matt Canavan attacks Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Canavan, Matt climateFederal resources minister accuses ABC of ‘fake news’ over Adani coalmine Matt Canavan attacks the broadcaster for being one-sided and says Australia’s biggest coalmine would improve the environment, Guardian, , 22 Dec 16, The federal resources minister has accused the ABC of reporting fake news and thrown his weight behind the energy giant Adani, amid Indian finance ministry investigations into the company.

Matt Canavan attacked the ABC for what he described as one-sided coverage of Adani’s plans to build Australia’s biggest coalmine and accused the national broadcaster of having a massive blindspot when it came to the project.

The Liberal National party senator from Queensland also said the Adani Carmichael coalmine would improve the environment in central Queensland by setting aside land for birdlife and returning water to the Great Artesian basin……..

The Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, said Canavan’s comments showed the “lunatic fringe” was in power.

“For Matt Canavan to suggest that Adani’s Carmichael coalmine will be good for the environment, in contrast to all scientific evidence, shows that the lunatic fringe of the Turnbull government is running the show,” Di Natale said.

“Matt Canavan’s comments are an embarrassment and if [the prime minister] Malcolm Turnbull is serious about tackling dangerous climate change he will give Australia an early Christmas present by stopping the Adani coalmine from opening and stopping Matt Canavan from opening his mouth.”……

December 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

2016 a year of weird weather

climate-changeWeird weather 2016: Year of melting ice, monster storms and Australia’s big wet, The Age, 22 Dec 16  Peter Hannam   If Santa really lived at the North Pole his sleigh would run the risk of falling through the ice this week, empty or fully laden.

Temperatures in the high Arctic will approach melting point on Thursday, including near the North Pole, a massive 30 degrees or more above average for this time of the year. Wide departures from temperature norms – usually on the warm side – have been a feature for a long while in the Arctic but this year’s extremes qualify the region as home to probably this year’s world’s weirdest weather.

The polar extremes are part of what is highly likely to be declared as the hottest year in records going back to the 1880s. And so, with 2016 eclipsing both 2015 and 2014, the world would have set a new high mark for three years in a row.

Here are some of this year’s outstanding weather and climate events:

Extreme ice melt……..

Early storms……

Extreme heat records…..

Strongest storm……

Big wet…..

Hottest month…..

Hottest year…..

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A dark time is coming to American climate science

censorshipA dark time is coming to American climate science

Trump questionnaire recalls dark history of ideology-driven science, Skeptical Science 21 December 2016 by By Paul N. Edwards, Professor of Information and History, University of Michigan

President-elect Trump has called global warming “bullshit” and a “Chinese hoax.” He has promised to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate treaty and to “bring back coal,” the world’s dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuel. The incoming administration has paraded a roster of climate change deniers for top jobs. On Dec. 13, Trump named former Texas Governor Rick Perry, another climate change denier, to lead the Department of Energy (DoE), an agency Perry said he would eliminate altogether during his 2011 presidential campaign.

Just days earlier, the Trump transition team presented the DoE with a 74-point questionnaire that has raised alarm among employees because the questions appear to target people whose work is related to climate change.

For me, as a historian of science and technology, the questionnaire – bluntly characterized by one DoE official as a “hit list” – is starkly reminiscent of the worst excesses of ideology-driven science, seen everywhere from the U.S. Red Scare of the 1950s to the Soviet and Nazi regimes of the 1930s.

The questionnaire asks for a list of “all DoE employees or contractors” who attended the annual Conferences of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – a binding treaty commitment of the U.S., signed by George H. W. Bush in 1992. Another question seeks the names of all employees involved in meetings of the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon, responsible for technical guidance quantifying the economic benefits of avoided climate change.

It also targets the scientific staff of DoE’s national laboratories. Continue reading

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Turnbull govt agreed to grant $640,000 to climate denialist centre

Federal grant to Bjørn Lomborg centre made in Turnbull era, documents show
Department agreement to provide $640,000 grant dates from March 2016, according to documents obtained under freedom of information,
Guardian, , 23 Dec 16, The Turnbull government signed an agreement to make a $640,000 grant to Bjørn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Centre nine months after plans to establish the centre had been abandoned.

Lomborg, Bjorn

The education department may have been under no legal obligation to make the grant, documents suggest.

The funding was used to support the centre’s post-2015 UN development goals project that found limiting global temperature rises to 2C was a poor investment.

A breakdown of costs released on Thursday shows that $482,000 of the Australian funding was spent on professional fees and services including research, “outreach” and forums.

About $146,000 was spent on travel in an ambitious global project convening seminars to discuss the UN development goals in Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and New York.

The project formed the basis of Lomborg’s book The Nobel Laureates’ Guide to the Smartest Targets for the World, which is not widely available in Australian shops.

Documents released under freedom of information show the department only entered a formal agreement to fund the project as late as 21 March 2016. Based on those documents and answers provided by the education department it appears the government did not have any ongoing commitment to the project when the Australian Consensus Centre was canned in June 2015……..

Labor’s innovation, industry, science and research shadow minister, Kim Carr, called on the government to provide a full explanation of the grant.

“The government must explain how and why this grant was still awarded, even after it had terminated the agreement with the university for the Australian Consensus Centre following pressure from the opposition and the research community,” Carr said.

“Malcolm Turnbull cannot hide behind a prior deal made by Tony Abbott – his government signed a fresh contract on 21 March 2016.”

“This use of taxpayers’ money to promote an anti-science conservative agenda shows that Malcolm Turnbull is still beholden to the right wing of the Liberal party.”

At Senate estimates on 20 October, Birmingham said the government had made a “special purpose” decision to allocate funding to the consensus centre, a process that was “terminated”…….

December 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Climate change denialists a force against clean energy in 2017

Parkinson-Report-Will 2017 be last stand of clean energy technology deniers?, REneweconomy By  on 21 December 2016 “……..Two major forces stand opposed in 2017. One is the falling cost of clean energy technology – solar, wind, storage and other smart controls – that is heralding what Alan Finkel calls an “unstoppable” energy transition away from centralised, polluting fossil fuel plants.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Indian govt forecasts 57% renewable energy penetration by 2027, and no new coal plants

antnuke-relevantIndia to reach 57% renewable penetration by 2027, forecasts government Bullish ten-year energy blueprint suggests India will surpass renewable targets outlined in Paris Agreement by more than 50% and three years ahead of schedule. DECEMBER 21, 2016  , PV MAGAZINEThe Indian government is expecting the country to source 57% of its energy requirements from renewables by 2027 – three years and many percentage points ahead of the 2030 target of 40% agreed to in Paris at COP21 last year.

This bold statement by India’s Central Electricity Authority is outlined in a draft ten-year energy blueprint that projects private investment in India’s solar and wind industries to drastically increase over the next decade, propelling installations to new heights and smashing the already-ambitious targets.

According to the plan, India will have installed 275 GW of renewable energy by 2027 – with more than half of figure likely to come from solar.

Piyush Goyal, the Indian energy minister, has also confirmed that there will be no new coal-fired power plants built until at least 2027 as the country hedges its energy future on renewable energy and takes seriously its pledges made under the Paris Agreement………

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment