Australian news, and some related international items

Heat records smashed in 2016 in many Western Australian towns

heatHydrate before reading: WA’s record-smashing hottest towns for 2016
If you complained about the heat in Perth earlier this week, spare a thought for our friends in the north of the state, who sweltered through their hottest year ever.

The Bureau of Meteorology has just released its annual climate updates and while cooler than normal temperatures in the south stopped WA’s overall annual numbers blowing out, towns up north broke records that make you uncomfortable just reading about them.

Wyndham Aerodrome set a new Australian record for annual average maximum: 37.5 degrees.

Kununurra broke its 1992 record of 36.4 to set a new one: 36.7.

Derby broke its 2015 record of 35.7 with 36.3.

Bureau of Meteorology liaison Glenn Cook said Broome equalled its record average of 33.3 for the first time since 1988.

Other Kimberley towns to break their own daytime records were Warmun Aboriginal community, Troughton Island, Cygnet Bay, Doongan Station and Argyle Aerodrome.

And residents got no relief at night, Mr Cook said, with sites across the Pilbara and Kimberley also breaking their records for highest annual mean minimums.

Troughton Island set a new Australian record of 27 degrees.

Broome, Port Hedland, Karratha and Derby all broke 2010 overnight temperature records with new highs of 23.5, 21.5, 22.0 and 23.5.

Overall for 2016, the region had its hottest average overnight temperatures ever, and its second-hottest average daytime temperatures.

They couldn’t even have the relief of saying “but it’s a dry heat”, as WA also had its wettest year since 2011……Troughton Island set a new Australian record of 27 degrees.

Broome, Port Hedland, Karratha and Derby all broke 2010 overnight temperature records with new highs of 23.5, 21.5, 22.0 and 23.5.

Overall for 2016, the region had its hottest average overnight temperatures ever, and its second-hottest average daytime temperatures.

They couldn’t even have the relief of saying “but it’s a dry heat”, as WA also had its wettest year since 2011.


January 6, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Darwin’s hottest year on record

THE Top End sweated through the warmest year on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Summary for NT… (subscribers only)

January 6, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Solar Power For Churches Is Getting Easier and Cheaper

church green 1text-relevant Eden Keeper, (USA) 6 Jan 17 Faith members considering solar power for churches, temples, mosques, and other houses of worship are discovering that installations are getting both easier and cheaper. Since 2009, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), costs for non-residential solar installations have dropped around 73%, from around $7.50 per kilowatt to today’s cost of about $2 per kilowatt.In Minnesota, for example, approximately 400 congregations are working with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL), a faith-based nationwide nonprofit concerned with climate change and environmental stewardship. MNIPL Executive Director Julia Nerbonne notes that conversations on solar power for churches are trending all across the state.

Among the 20 Minnesota houses of worship that completed their transition to solar power in 2016 are Unity Church-Unitarian and Woodbury Peaceful Grove United Methodist Church in St. Paul. In Roseville, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church also completed it’s solar rooftop installation last year……..

Community Solar Farms Offer Additional Solutions……..

Just Community Solar: A Story of Faith in Action!

Many States Offer Solar IncentivesCurrent political fearmongering aside, many states are working hard to increase the transition to renewable energy in the US. Minnesota is an inspiring example…

“Tons and Tons of Faith Communities Doing Solar” 
An additional bill credit especially relating to solar power for churches, faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits may be approved in March 2017, by the Public Utilities Commission………

Learn More about Community Solar Power For ChurchesMNIPL’s project, “Just Community Solar: A Story of Faith in Action” is “connecting the dots between climate, racial, and economic justice.”

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Genetral Motors Commits to 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2050

text-relevantGM Commits to 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2050   15.09.2016 GM pledges to source global electricity from wind, sun and landfill gas, joins RE100

DETROIT – General Motors plans to generate or source all electrical power for its 350 operations in 59 countries with 100 percent renewable energy — such as wind, sun and landfill gas — by 2050.

“Establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal helps us better serve society by reducing environmental impact,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “This pursuit of renewable energy benefits our customers and communities through cleaner air while strengthening our business through lower and more stable energy costs.”

This new renewable energy goal, along with the pursuit of electrified vehicles and efficient manufacturing, is part of the company’s overall approach to strengthening its business, improving communities and addressing climate change. GM is also joining RE100, a global collaborative initiative of businesses committed to 100 percent renewable electricity, working to increase demand for clean power.

In 2015, GM required 9 terawatt hours of electricity to build its vehicles and power its offices, technical centers and warehouses around the world. To meet its new renewable energy goal, GM will continue to improve the energy efficiency of its operations while transitioning to clean sources for its power needs.

Today GM saves $5 million annually from using renewable energy, a number it anticipates will increase as more projects come online and the supply of renewable energy increases. In addition, the company anticipates costs to install and produce renewable energy will continue to decrease, resulting in more bottom-line returns.

The new renewable energy commitment builds on GM’s previous goal to promote the use of 125 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020. The company expects to exceed this when two new wind projects come online later this year to help power four manufacturing operations………

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China dominates the renewable energy technology market

text-relevantChina cementing global dominance of renewable energy and technology  It now owns five of the world’s six largest solar-module manufacturing firms and the largest wind-turbine manufacturer, Guardian, . 6 Jan 17China is cementing its global dominance of renewable energy and supporting technologies, aggressively investing in them both at home and around the globe, leaving countries including the US, UK and Australia at risk of missing the growing market.

A report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (Ieefa) found China’s dominance in renewables is rapidly spreading overseas, with the country accelerating its foreign investment in renewable energy and supporting technologies.

Analysing Chinese foreign investments over US$1bn, Ieefa found 13 in 2016, worth a combined $32bn. That represented a 60% jump over similar investments in 2015.China was already widely recognised as the largest investor in domestic renewable energy, investing $102bn in 2015, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance – more than twice that invested domestically by the US and about five times that of the UK.

The big foreign investments in 2016 included two in Australia, two in Germany and two in Brazil, as well as deals in Chile, Indonesia, Egypt, Pakistan and Vietnam.

  • In Australia, China Light & Power struck a $1.1bn deal, buying power from wind and solar farms.
  • In Chile, Tianqi Lithium spent $2.5bn acquiring a 25% stake of a lithium miner and processor. (Lithium is essential for lithium batteries used in electric vehicles and home battery storage.)
  • In Germany, Beijing Enterprises Holdings Ltd spend $1.6bn on a Waste to Energy development.

The report noted the global expansion cements China’s total domination of renewable energy growth globally. China now owned:

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Insurance companies must fund global warming resilience

Climate change threatens ability of insurers to manage risk Extreme weather is driving up uninsured losses and insurers must use investments to fund global warming resilience, says study, Guardian, , 7 Dec 16, The ability of the global insurance industry to manage society’s risks is being threatened by climate change, according to a new report.

The report finds that more frequent extreme weather events are driving up uninsured losses and making some assets uninsurable.


The analysis, by a coalition of the world’s biggest insurers, concluded that the “protection gap” – the difference between the costs of natural disasters and the amount insured – has quadrupled to $100bn (£79bn) a year since the 1980s.

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, warns in the new report that: “Over time, the adverse effects of climate change could threaten economic resilience and financial stability [and] insurers are currently at the forefront.”

The ClimateWise coalition of 29 insurers, including Allianz, Aon, Aviva, Lloyd’s, Prudential, Swiss Re and Zurich, conclude that the industry must use more of its $30tn of investments to help fund increased resilience of society to floods, storms and heatwaves.

The Bank of England warned in 2015 that insurance companies could suffer a “huge hit” if their investments in fossil fuel companies were rendered worthless by action on climate change and some insurershave already shed investments in coal.

The ClimateWise report, published on Wednesday, also says the industry must also use its risk management expertise to convince policymakers in both the public and private sector of the urgent need for climate action.

The industry’s traditional response to rising insurance risks – raising premiums or withdrawing cover – would not help deal with the rising risks of global warming, it said……..

The economic impact of these natural catastrophes is growing quickly, according to Swiss Re, with total losses increasing fivefold since the 1980s to about $170bn today. This increase is partly due to an increase in extreme weather but also due to an increase in assets as cities and towns have grown, especially in vulnerable locations such as on coasts…….

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Donald Trump will face a problem about solar power

text-relevantWhy solar power poses a very tricky problem for Donald Trump, The Week, Ryan Cooper, 6 Jan 17  The worst imaginable president for climate change might be about to take power, but solar is still a bright spot. The technology and business infrastructure of solar panel manufacturing has been getting better at a blistering pace, and the latest estimates conclude that solar will surpass coal as the cheapest electricity source within a single decade — and in many places, it already has.

This raises the question of what President Trump will do about the solar business. Most Republicans, Trump included, are heavily committed to filth-spewing power sources like coal and natural gas, and deny the science of climate change. But while Republicans will no doubt want to use regulations and subsidies to prop up fossil fuels and keep down renewables, Trump has shown a bizarre fixation with U.S.-based manufacturing jobs that might just redound to solar’s benefit.

The latest estimate of solar panels’ economic viability comes via Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The price of solar power has plummeted by 62 percent merely since 2009. Taking into account current trends and planned technological developments, they estimate solar will be on average the world’s cheapest power source by about 2026, without subsidies of any kind.

That average hides much variability, of course — in some sunny regions, solar is already astoundingly cheap:…….

Republicans will likely respond to the growth of solar by trying to stamp it out by allowing fossil fuels to pollute to their heart’s content (thus granting them a huge implicit subsidy), and passing burdensome new regulations on renewables. On the face of it, this fits well with Donald Trump’s campaign, which was all about valorizing traditionally masculine jobs, particularly in manufacturing and manual labor. In the conservative shorthand, coal is tough and cool, while renewables are for sissy Prius-drivers.

But on the other hand, this stereotype is wildly at odds with the actual reality of the solar business. Solar panels must be manufactured (as of 2015, there were about 30,000 such jobs in the United States) and installed by manual laborers (120,000 jobs as of 2015). That number has no doubt grown substantially in the past year, as solar jobs have been consistently increasing in number by about 20 percent per year……..

Stamping out solar would kill an order of magnitude more jobs than that. If Trump got wind of some policy that would strangle American solar — or worse yet, force the company to pick up and move to Europe or China — there is a genuine chance he’ll go on one of his Twitter rampages and force the Republican Congress to back down.

Conversely, it will be genuinely difficult to revive coal jobs, which have been in long-term decline since the 1970s. Big Coal has been all but killed off by competition with fracked natural gas and, increasingly, renewables. It is smaller than solar and shrinking fast. Stark hypocrisy is basically the Republican motto, but even they might struggle with the large and increasing subsidies necessary to prop up an ever-more-obsolete marketplace loser.

So don’t get me wrong: The Trump presidency will be an absolute disaster for climate change. But with a bit of luck, the American solar industry might not be totally eviscerated.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Heat is on. #climatechange #auspol 


The heat is on
It was the fourth-warmest year on record for Australia, with temperatures 0.87℃ above average nationally, 0.33℃ short of the record set in 2013.
The year got off to a very warm start; it was the warmest autumn on record for Australia, and the first half of the year was also the warmest on record, although there were no individual heatwaves on the scale of those experienced in 2013 or 2014.
The second half of the year was less warm. During the wet months in mid-year, heavy cloud cover led to cool days but warm nights, then a cool October resulted in spring temperatures almost exactly matching the long-term average. A warm start and cooler finish is typical of a post-El Niño year as rainfall typically changes from below to above average.
It was the warmest year on record in many parts of the northern tropics, along…

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January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Antarctica is melting. #auspol 


About 15,000 years ago, the ocean around Antarctica has seen an abrupt sea level rise of several meters. It could happen again. An international team of scientists with the participation of the University of Bonn is now reporting its findings in the magazine Scientific Reports.
University of Bonn’s climate researcher Michael E. Weber is a member of the study group. He says, “The changes that are currently taking place in a disturbing manner resemble those 14,700 years ago.” At that time, changes in atmospheric-oceanic circulation led to a stratification in the ocean with a cold layer at the surface and a warm layer below. Under such conditions, ice sheets melt more strongly than when the surrounding ocean is thoroughly mixed. This is exactly what is presently happening around the Antarctic.
The main author of the study, the Australian climate researcher Chris Fogwill from the Climate Change Research Center in Sydney…

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January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queensland Government moving fast towards its renewable energy target

map-solar-Queenslandtext-relevantSolar targets: ‘We’re already halfway there’ says Energy Minister Mark Bailey, Brisbane Times, Tony Moore , 5 Dec 16  The Queensland Government says it is halfway towards one section of its 2020 target of generating 3000 megawatts of solar power from Queensland rooftops by 2020.

“November’s peak of almost 16MW of solar generation capacity installed represents a 33 per cent increase on the year-to-date monthly average,” Energy Minister Mark Bailey said on December 19.

“The four-month period from August to November included four of the five best months during 2016 for the number rooftop solar installations in Queensland.”

Fairfax Media on Tuesday reported calls by University of New South Wales researchers for Brisbane to make better use of the roofs to collect solar energy.

The researchers will arrive in Brisbane on Friday to demonstrate that by putting solar panels on public buildings such as Suncorp Stadium, QPAC and Roma Street Station enough energy could be collected to power 1200 homes.

Senior researcher Anna Bruce wants to talk to Queensland’s Energy Supply Department and to Brisbane City Council about the potential of using extra roof space to collect solar power.

The research team believes it is possible to “generate 241 gigawatt hours of energy per year,” from photo-voltaic cells which could collect a potential 188 megawatts.

Generating 3000 megawatts from Queensland rooftops is one of the Queensland government’s renewable energy objectives; as well as establishing “a credible pathway for having 50 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030”.

That is contained in its solar energy policy, which can be read here.………

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

China’s $493 billion investment in renewable energy

text-relevantflag-ChinaChina to spend $493 billion on green power by 2020$493-billion-on-renewable-fuel-by-2020/8164434    China will plough 2.5 trillion yuan ($493 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020, the country’s energy agency says, as the world’s largest energy market continues to shift away from dirty coal power towards cleaner fuels.

The investment will create over 13 million jobs in the sector, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a blueprint document that lays out its plan to develop the nation’s energy sector during the five-year 2016 to 2020 period.

The NEA said installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power would contribute to about half of new electricity generation by 2020.

China’s Green Energy Push

The agency did not disclose more details on where the funds — which equate to about $98 billion each year — would be spent.

The investment reflects Beijing’s continued focus on curbing the use of fossil fuels, which have fostered the country’s economic growth over the past decade, as it ramps up its war on pollution.

Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s economic planner, said in its own five-year plan that solar power would receive 1 trillion yuan of spending, as the country seeks to boost capacity by five times.

The spending comes as the cost of building large-scale solar plants has dropped by as much as 40 per cent since 2010. China became the world’s top solar generator last year.

Concerns about the social and economic costs of China’s air pollution have increased as the northern parts of the country, including the capital Beijing, have battled a weeks-long bout of hazardous smog.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Australian government’s deceptive labelling of nuclear wastes



Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 5 Dec 16  What we call “Intermediate” level waste is called “High” level waste (HLW) in the USA, Canada, Japan, France and the UK. This mislabeling is so deceptive, that if it was any other product the ACCC would be sinking their gums into them.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Matt Canavan Australia’s very own Minister For The Coal Industry

Canavan, Matt climateNext-generation coal can fill gap, says Matt Canavan, 5 Jan 17 
Australia should turn to the next generation of coal-fired power stations to generate more domest­ic electricity, according to a key federal minister who has gone on the offensive against conservationists who want to end the use of coal…. (subscribers only)   

a-cat-CAN(You can see why I don’t bother to subscribe to this puppet of industry newspaper!)

January 6, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Global warming happening faster than previously estimated

global-warming1New study confirms NOAA finding of faster global warming 4 January 2017 by John Abraham

A new study has shown that a 2015 NOAA paper finding that the Earth is warming more rapidly than previously thought was correct.

Once again, science is shown to work. The laborious process in which scientists check and recheck their work and subject their ideas to peer review has led to another success. An independent test of global warming data has confirmed a groundbreaking 2015 study that showed warming was faster than prior estimates. Continue reading

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France’s taxpayers will save failed nuclear company AREVA, whoever wins election

hollande-salesFrance ready to save nuclear group Areva, regardless of election outcome, Globe and Mail, GEERT DE CLERCQ, PARIS — Reuters, Jan. 04, 2017 A government-led rescue of French nuclear group Areva and the wider atomic-energy industry may cost the state as much as €10-billion ($13.94-billion Canadian), but political support is almost certain whoever wins the presidential election in May.

January 6, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment