The whole point of renewable energy is that it is clean. And, for sure, the major fuels – sun and wind – are undoubtedly clean. However, renewable energy does require some components – rare earths – that certainly have a dirty radioactive history, and may still have a dirty radioactive present.
China is now controlling rare earths’ production in a cleaner way. but it would be naïve and simplistic to assume that its pollution problems have completely gone away.
Meanwhile Australian companies, too, are mining and processing rare earths. Lynas, in Malaysia, has had a history pf inadequate management of radioactive wastes, but now has improved its practices. https://www.lynascorp.com/Pages/Environment.aspx. Greenland Minerals and Energy, about to mine rare earths in Greenland, is criticised for unsatisfactory planning for its radioactive waste tailings. http://arcticjournal.com/oil-minerals/1583/uranium-opponents-look-other-sectors-job-growth.
3 main approaches are being taken to this problem:
Design for recycling. This is particularly appropriate for wind turbines.
Reduction in consumption of rare earths . This is not applicable to renewable energy, but rather to the rampant and wasteful consumption of modern electronic gadgets – often unnecessary, all too often a part of our throwaway culture. http://chinawaterrisk.org/resources/analysis-reviews/can-we-build-a-clean-smart-future-on-toxic-rare-earths/
Design for green technologies that don’t require rare earths
Of course, like all modern industrial technologies, mining and manufacture and transport of renewables do mean environmental disturbance. But this is a balancing act, considering the environmental benefits of renewable energy.
The nuclear lobby pretends that renewable energy is environmentally dirty. In the 21st Century, it is vital that we acknowledge environmental problems, including that fact of radioactive waste from rare earths, and make sure that the production processes are clean, even if this adds to their cost.
A week away from Donald Trump taking over the USA Presidency, and it’s anybody’s guess as to how bad the repercussions of that will be, for climate action, nuclear safety, and the public good. If there happen to be some accidental unintended benefits for they public good, I doubt that these will compensate for the world’s most powerful nation being run by the lead bully boy for corporate America. Barack Obama retires graciously, claiming that “we did”. Perhaps more accurately “we tried”.
Record loss of sea ice in 2016-both Arctic and Antarctic.
Alexei Yablokov, grandfather of Russian environmentalism, dies at 83
Australian not-for-profit, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) installs solar household systems in East Timor villages.
Loss of Great Barrier Reef will be part of major collapses of ocean ecosystems.
Australia and USA trail behind in renewable energy, as China and India lead.
ACT. Australian Capital Territory prepares for role as clean energy hub and exporter of renewable technology
South Australia. Pro nuclear former Senator Sean Edwards to run for South Australian Parliament, considers leadership of S.A. Liberals . Prominent wealthy nuclear industry fans back former Senator Sean Edwards.
Western Australia. W.A. govt approves Toro Energy’s Wiluna uranium mine, as uranium prices continue to decrease. Western Australia leads the world in wave energy. Heat records smashed in 2016 in many Western Australian towns.
Northern Territory. Darwin’s hottest year on record.
Tasmania. Tasmania needs to be better prepared for climate change and weather extremes.
Australia’s taxpayers subsidise a private company set up by ANSTO to sell nuclear power produced isotopes
ANSTO’s link http://www.nuclearaustralia.org.au/ansto-nuclear-medicine-project/ This is a slide from the above link. ANSTO Nuclear Medicine (ANM) Pty Ltd is a commercial subsidiary of ANSTO.
So a company is going to cream off the profits while Australian taxpayers subsidise the reactor and the waste disposal – and communities have to deal with the costs of a nuclear waste dump. Another slide says “Full Cost Recovery Model” – the full cost can never be recovered when you are dealing with nuclear waste.
Canada develops nuclear-free production of medical isotopes, Australia subsidises nuclear production
Steve Dale Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA., 14 Jan 17, Canada is moving towards clean Cyclotrons for Molybdenum-99 production – yet Australia decides it wants to undermine worldwide Cyclotron development by subsidising Mo-99 for the world. Waste taxpayer’s money to produce unnecessary nuclear waste.
“The ANSTO Nuclear Medicine (ANM) Project will enable ANSTO to triple production of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). The increased capacity will enable Australia to meet domestic demand, as well as being able to supply up to 25-30% of global demand.”
US ‘threatens to involve Australia in war with China’: Paul Keating condemns US secretary of state nominee’s comments, The Age, Fergus Hunter, 14 Jan 17
In a statement released on Friday, Mr Keating warned the Australian government to reject Rex Tillerson’s declaration this week that a “signal” needed to be sent to Beijing that the construction of artificial islands in the contested region must stop and “access to those islands also is not going to be allowed”. The remarks from the former chief of Exxon Mobil, in which he also called for regional allies “to show backup”, have set the stage for sharply increased tensions between the US and China as the Asian superpower builds up its military presence on the islands to defend against competing territorial claims from neighbouring countries.
According to Mr Keating, Mr Tillerson’s testimony to his US Senate confirmation hearing “threatens to involve Australia in war with China”. And he has urged the Australian people to “take note” and recommended the government tell the Trump administration, which will take over on January 20, “that Australia will not be part of such adventurism, just as we should have done in Iraq 15 years ago”. “That means no naval commitment to joint operations in the South China Sea and no enhanced US military facilitation of such operations,” the former Labor prime minister said.
“Tillerson’s claim that China’s control of access to the waters would be a threat to ‘the entire global economy’ is simply ludicrous. No country would be more badly affected than China if it moved to impede navigation. On the other hand, Australia’s prosperity and the security of the world would be devastated by war.”……… http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/us-threatens-to-involve-australia-in-war-with-china-paul-keating-condemns-us-secretary-of-state-nominees-comments-20170113-gtqy0k.html
King CONG vs. Solartopia The Progressive December 5, 2016 Harvey Wasserman “………On one side is King CONG (Coal, Oil, Nukes, and Gas), the corporate megalith that’s unbalancing our weather and dominating our governments in the name of centralized, for-profit control of our economic future. On the other is a nonviolent grassroots campaign determined to reshape our power supply to operate in harmony with nature, to serve the communities and individuals who consume and increasingly produce that energy, and to build the foundation of a sustainable eco-democracy…….
with this dangerous and dirty power have come Earth-friendly alternatives, ignited in part by the grassroots movements of the 1960s. E.F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautifulbecame the bible of a back-to-the-land movement that took a new generation of veteran activists into the countryside. ……
As rising concerns about global warming forced a hard look at fossil fuels, the fading nuclear power industry suddenly had a new selling point. Climate expert James Hansen, former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman, and Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand began advocating atomic energy as an answer to CO2 emissions. The corporate media began breathlessly reporting a “nuclear renaissance” allegedly led by hordes of environmentalists.
But the launch of Peaceful Atom 2.0 has fallen flat.
As I recently detailed in an online article for The Progressive, atomic energy adds to rather than reduces global warming. All reactors emit Carbon-14. The fuel they burn demands substantial CO2 emissions in the mining, milling, and enrichment processes. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen has compiled a wide range of studies concluding new reactor construction would significantly worsen the climate crisis.
Moreover, attempts to recycle spent reactor fuel or weapons material have failed, as have attempts to establish a workable nuclear-waste management protocol. For decades, reactor proponents have argued that the barriers to radioactive waste storage are political rather than technical. But after six decades, no country has unveiled a proven long-term storage strategy for high-level waste.
For all the millions spent on it, the nuclear renaissance has failed to yield a single new reactor order. New projects in France, Finland, South Carolina, and Georgia are costing billions extra, with opening dates years behind schedule. Five projects pushed by the Washington Public Power System caused the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. No major long-standing green groups have joined the tiny crew of self-proclaimed “pro-nuke environmentalists.” Wall Street is backing away.
Even the split atom’s most ardent advocates are hard-pressed to argue any new reactors will be built in the United States, or more than a scattered few anywhere else but China, where the debate still rages and the outcome is uncertain……..
Where once it demanded deregulation and a competitive market, the nuclear industry now wants re-regulation and guaranteed profits no matter how badly it performs……..
Once the shining hope of the corporate power industry, atomic energy’s demise represents more than just the failure of a technology. It’s the prime indicator of an epic shift away from corporate control of a grid-based energy supply, toward a green power web owned and operated by the public.
As homeowners, building managers, factories, and communities develop an ever-firmer grip on a grassroots homegrown power supply, the arc of our 128-year energy war leans toward Solartopia.
Harvey Wasserman’s Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth is at solartopia.org. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at prn.fm. He edits nukefree.org. http://www.progressive.org/news/2016/12/189107/king-cong-vs-solartopia
As the protest against the Carmichael project – Australia’s largest proposed coalmine – moves beyond the courts and into the realm of civil disobedience, activists have a clear warning: ‘If you’re in bed with Adani, you’re a target’, Guardian, Joshua Robertson, 14 Jan 17, Across Australia a secretive network of activists are laying the groundwork for what they expect will be the biggest environmental protest movement in the country’s history.
Of course this won’t materialise if Adani and the rest of the miners proposing to open up one of the world’s biggest coalfields walk away from Queensland’s Galilee basin first.
But standing idly by on the assumption that the economics of the massive coal projects won’t stack up – at a time the world is trying to reduce carbon emissionsto limit global warming to under 2C – is not a choice these activists are willing to make.
And so the campaign to take the fight against Australia’s largest proposed coalmine, Adani’s Carmichael project, to another level, beyond the courts and into the realm of civil disobedience, is under way………https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/14/adani-coalmine-activists-gear-up-to-fight-this-will-dwarf-the-franklin-blockade
“Our analysis suggests that solar could now infringe on gas’ market share and in some cases challenge its peak margins, and that gas and renewables collectively will continue to gain market share at the expense of coal and nuclear,”
Levelized cost of energy survey shows wind, natural gas cementing economic edge SNL, 06 January 2017 By Lucas Bifera
A survey of levelized cost of energy, or LCOE, studies illustrates that onshore wind and combined-cycle gas have secured their place as the lowest-cost energy resources, with utility-scale solar not far behind.
Often used as a barometer for estimating the cost at which certain generation technologies can be deployed on an economic basis, LCOE has become a mainstay for policymakers, analysts and industry groups as a reference when comparing costs and benefits of various technologies on the grid. Continue reading
New York Bets On Renewables To Replace Indian Point Nuclear Plant https://cleantechnica.com/2017/01/13/new-york-bets-renewables-replace-indian-point-nuclear-plant/ Originally published on Think Progress. By Jeremy Deaton
New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans this week to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which supplies electricity to New York City and surrounding areas. The plant’s two working reactors — which account for roughly 10 percent of the state’s power generation — are slated to go offline in 2020 and 2021, more than a decade ahead of schedule.
Nuclear power plants represent a range of risks, from hazardous radioactive waste to a full-scale meltdown. They also supply the bulk of America’s zero-carbon electricity. In laying out its carbon-cutting goals, the Environmental Protection Agency assumed that existing nuclear power plants would continue to hum and buzz for decades to come. But cheap natural gas is digging into the profits of America’s aging nuclear power plants, pressuring them to close ahead of schedule.
Some states, like Illinois, have thrown a lifeline to nuclear, subsidizing struggling plants, lest they be replaced by carbon-spewing natural gas. New York, by contrast, is betting that the hole created by Indian Point’s closure will be filled with solar, wind, and hydropower.
In a statement, Cuomo said the plant’s closure won’t drive up emissions “at the regional level.” Given New York’s ambitious climate policies, he might be right.
New York has big plans for clean energy.
What also isn’t included in any of the above articles is that China is also investing 2.5 trillion yuan, the equivalent of $US361 billion in renewable power generation by 2020.
Environmental spin: An example of media disunity on renewable energy, Independent Australia, Melanie McCartney 14 January 2017, We can’t keep ignoring the ginormous elephant that is renewable energy in our economic policy, writes Melanie McCartney.
LAST SUNDAY, I surfed the ABC news website and clicked onto this headline:
‘China fights pollution: New environmental police squad to battle heavy smog’.
The article seemed a little threadbare. When this occurs I search further and ideally for an article in the country relevant to the article. I like to get more details this way. I decided to try something different this week and scanned the headline blurbs on the first Google page.
I noticed that all of the articles, bar two, started the same:
‘Officials in Beijing create a new environmental police squad in the latest effort to fight China’s persistent…’………
What also isn’t included in any of the above articles is that China is also investing 2.5 trillion yuan, the equivalent of $US361 billion in renewable power generation by 2020.
On 5 January, Fortune reported:
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 announcement comes only days after Beijing, the Chinese capital, and other cities in China’s industrial north-east were again engulfed in hazardous smog, caused largely by coal-fired power generation.
The NEA said installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power will account for about half of new electricity generation by 2020.
Personally, I was aware of China’s five-year-planning but not of the lofty renewable energy target above until I started to write this. The Turnbull Government’s energy policies look dismal when compared to this news. It’s not right that the media has missed this, when so many Australians, especially Indigenous Australians care and value nature and worry about the repercussions of our climate changing. China is the world’s biggest investor not just in energy but in renewable energy. Its citizens need to be able to breathe, just like the developed countries. The rest of the developing countries will follow too.
We can’t keep ignoring the ginormous elephant that is renewable energy in our economic policy. This is harming not just investment hopes within our country and overseas investors but also within our communities. The uncertainty and lack of long-term planning only opens us up to further exploitation by multinational corporations and or foreign countries. China is the world’s biggest producer and investor in solar energy now.
Australia still has a chance, together — not on an elitist path, but closer to an egalitarianism one. One that questions authority. If journalists can’t or won’t do it, we, the people, will have to. It’s the pioneering Aussie way after all.
You can read more from Melanie McCartney on her blog or you can follow her on Twitter@CartwheelPrint. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/environmental-spin-an-example-of-media-disunity-on-renewable-energy,9918#.WHlBFksjta4.twitter
Priests, pastors and ministers nationwide are spreading the gospel of climate change — as are imams and rabbis.
In recent years, faith-based advocacy has emerged as a powerful tool in the environmental movement. By reframing climate change and sustainability as moral issues, religious leaders hope to advance environmentalism by elevating it above the political fray.
“I believe that all religions, all faiths share a common goodness,” said Zerqa Abid, founder of My Project USA, a Muslim youth organization in Columbus. “All of us have to look within our houses, within our cities, in our everyday lives.
“We take care of the Earth, or we destroy it.”
Americans report fairly high levels of spirituality, but most do not view climate change as a moral issue, according to a 2015 survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Presenting climate change as a spiritual issue could be a successful strategy for attracting religious folks to environmental causes, the report suggests.
In Ohio, three-fourths of voters identify as religious, but little more than half say environmental laws are worth the cost, according to 2016 Pew Research Center surveys.
“Hitting people in the head with science doesn’t get them in the heart,” said Deborah Steele, fiscal officer for Clinton Township who previously worked for three years as an Ohio Interfaith Power and Light coordinator. “What gets people is a matter of conscience and not the logic of science.”
As leaders of intimate community spaces, religious officials are beginning to address the human-rights implications of climate change.
For example, exploitation of natural resources severely affects the world’s poorest populations and violates divine dictates on how people should treat the planet, said Rabbi Alex Braver of Tifereth Israel.
“The big-picture view, that’s what religion can offer,” Braver said. “I think (environmentalism) has very deep roots in ancient text and tradition, but it’s been lifted up in a different way now that we’re seeing the immense power we can have over the environment.”……….
At a rally on Monday, people from across several faiths and campaigns called on U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, to reject nominees for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet who deny climate change or come from the fossil-fuel industry.
Among the people who attended was Aline Yamada and her two children. Yamada, a Buddhist from Clintonville, said she feels a parallel between her beliefs and the protest’s message.
“We are all connected,” she said. “I think this is the biggest moral challenge of our time.” firstname.lastname@example.org