Australian news, and some related international items

Trump is doing his best to ruin the world for our children and grandchildren

Trump just cemented his legacy as America’s worst-ever president Dana Nuccitelli

Trump is doing his best to ruin the world for our children and grandchildren In an inexplicable abdication of any semblance of responsibility or leadership, Donald Trump has announced that he will begin the process to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate treaty, joining Nicaragua and Syria as the only world countries rejecting the agreement. It now seems inevitable that the history books will view Trump as America’s worst-ever president.

Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris treaty is a mostly symbolic act. America’s pledges to cut its carbon pollution were non-binding, and his administration’s policies to date had already made it impossible for America to meet its initial Paris climate commitment for 2025. The next American president in 2020 can re-enter the Paris treaty and push for policies to make up some of the ground we lost during Trump’s reign.

However, withdrawing from the Paris treaty is an important symbolic move – a middle finger to the rest of the world, and to future generations. America is by far the largest historical contributor to climate change. Ironically, on the heels of Trump’s claim that most NATO members aren’t paying their fair share to the organization, America has announced that we won’t do our fair share to curb the climate change threats that we are the most responsible for……..

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ross Garnaut – green energy will be win-win for South Australia

Ross Garnaut: SA has little choice over green energy and can be a low carbon superpower Ross Garnaut, The Advertiser June 1, 2017 OF the many challenges facing South Australia, it’s hard not to look past how the state plans to deal with a more secure electricity supply.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

China’s overcapacity of energy – suspends permits for new coal plants

China suspends permits for new coal plants as overcapacity policy bites, Energy Desk, May 16, 2017 by Zachary Davies Boren  @zdboren The Chinese government has ordered the vast majority of its provinces to stop permitting new coal power projects.

According to a statement from the National Energy Administration (NEA), 28 of China’s 31 mainland provinces do not currently have the right financial or environmental conditions to build new coal capacity.

This represents an update to the government’s ‘traffic light’ system, designed to tackle the country’s coal overcapacity crisis — that we reported on last year.

What is China’s coal ‘traffic light’ policy?

Last year the National Energy Administration kicked off a new scheme to determine whether provinces should build new coal- fired power stations.

The system, created so that the country would stop adding to its overcapacity crisis, assigns each province a colour to signify the viability of its coal pipeline — based on profitability, existing capacity and ‘resource constraints’ such as air pollution and water.

Red means no new coal projects should be permitted. Orange indicates local governments and coal companies should tread carefully. And green says that there is plenty space for new coal power.

24 provinces were issued red lights, 4 earned the orange light (which recommends not adding coal in much stronger language than last year) while only two were given the green light……..

We reported earlier this year that the permits for new coal plants in 2016 have declined 85% compared to 2015, but that the new permits are concentrated in areas of high water stress.

Data from the last two quarters (the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017) show this trend continues.

Over 70% of the projects in the permitting pipeline are in extremely water stressed areas, so-called overwithdrawal zones, where the water withdrawn from a basin exceeds its capability to renew.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Global condemnation of Donald Trump’s US withdrawal from Paris agreement,

Donald Trump, climate change: World reacts to US withdrawal from Paris agreement, GLOBAL reaction to Donald Trump’s “arrogant” decision has been brutal. World leaders aren’t happy.  2 June 17 Debra Killalea@DebKillalea  CRITICS have blasted Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement to curb climate change as reckless, immoral and a massive middle finger to the world.

While it fulfils Mr Trump’s election promise to pull out of the pact — which he has labelled a job killer — the announcement has caused widespread shock and outrage.

European leaders have condemned the decision and even big business is angry.

Former president Obama called the decision a “rejection of the future”, while former US vice president and ardent climate change campaigner Al Gore blasted Mr Trump’s move as “indefensible”.

CNN climate change and social justice columnist John D Sutter described the decision to pull out on the Paris Agreement as “a middle finger to the future” and “catastrophic both for this country and the planet.”

“The worst part: There is absolutely no reason for it. Aside, perhaps, from bravado and arrogance,” he writes. Sutter said, in walking away from the agreement, Mr Trump was turning his back on the entire world and on the consensus of climate science. Continue reading

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Greenpeace Australia and Amnesty International condemn U.S. withdrawal from climate agreement

Donald Trump, climate change: World reacts to US withdrawal from Paris agreement,, 2 June 17 “………Greenpeace Australia Pacific condemned Mr Trump’s decision calling it reprehensible and destructive.

Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, Nikola Casule, said the President had betrayed the trust of nearly 200 nations.

“Real global leaders are taking urgent action on climate change,” he said.

“Other major parties to the historic Paris Agreement — including China, the EU and India — have signalled they remain firmly committed to the deal. At the very least, we expect that the rest of the nearly 200 nations will be stepping up and holding the US government to account.

“Australia must stand with them. Because global climate action is not a legal or political debate, it is a moral obligation to protect our planet and people.”

Describing the clean energy revolution as unstoppable Mr Casule said Mr Trump’s isolationist stance at this critical moment in history is morally reprehensible and attempts to derail global progress on climate change will fail.

The decision was also slammed by human rights groups who warned the world’s poorest people will suffer the worst consequences of this decision.

Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA said Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of deal could result in a human rights catastrophe of epic proportions.

She warned the decision would set the world on a deadly collision course with disaster, war and insecurity

“Let there be no doubt, President Trump’s expected decision to withdraw the USA from the global climate deal is an assault on a range of human rights putting millions of people’s lives and wellbeing around the world in severe jeopardy,” she said.

“By refusing to join other nations in taking necessary steps to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change, the President is effectively saying: ‘Let them drown, burn and starve’.”

June 2, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Donald Trump losing support of some big business leaders

Paris climate deal: Donald Trump to lose Elon Musk, Disney boss from advisory council, ABC News, 2 June 17 Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk and Disney chief executive Bob Iger say they will leave President Donald Trump’s advisory councils after he confirmed the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord…..

While the move was welcomed by conservative groups and Republicans, several business leaders — including Mr Musk and Mr Iger, and the heads of companies including Google, Facebook Shell and Amazon — have spoken out against the decision.

“Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Mr Musk said in a Twitter post. Mr Musk, who founded SpaceX and Tesla among other companies, had been a member of Mr Trump’s infrastructure council, manufacturing jobs council and his strategic and policy forum……

A couple of hours after Mr Musk’s announcement, Mr Iger also said he will be stepping down from the advisory council “as a matter of principle”.  Other business leaders, such as Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, Microsoft president Brad Smith and General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt have tweeted that they were “disappointed” with the decision.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said stopping climate change is “something we can only do as a global community”.

Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children’s future at risk,” he wrote on Facebook.

Other global companies, including Intel, HP, Dell, Amazon and oil giant Shell have released statements expressing support for the Paris agreement.

“We believe that robust clean energy and climate policies can support American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth,” Amazon wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the governors of three US states — New York, California and Washington — announced they would form a “United States Climate Alliance” to convene states “committed to upholding the Paris climate agreement”.

“If the President is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavour, then California and other states will step up,” a joint statement read…….

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Queensland Land Court recommends scrapping Acland coal mine expansion

Acland coal mine: Queensland Land Court recommends scrapping expansion, ABC News, By Andrew Kos, 31 May 17, Landholders and farmers in the Darling Downs are claiming a big win following a Land Court decision recommending the $900 million Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland Coal Mine be scrapped.

More than 60 property owners have been fighting the New Hope Group’s proposed project since the State Government indicated support for it in 2012.

The expansion, which would see the mine produce coal for a further decade, was granted Federal Government approval earlier this year.

Opponents took the matter to the Land Court last year arguing the mine expansion would damage groundwater levels, air quality and prime agricultural land.

The case became the longest in Land Court history, with more than 100 days of hearings and 2,000 exhibits.

In a judgment today, the court recommended the Mining Leases and Environmental Authority amendment for Stage 3 not be granted for the proposed expansion…..

Government could still permit project

In a statement to the ASX, the New Hope Group said it remained committed to delivering the project and would actively progress it through the final stages of approval…… The State Government is the final decision maker for the project and will need to decide whether to follow the court’s recommendations or approve it regardless.

A spokeswoman said the Government was examining the court’s judgment.,-court-rules/8576886

June 2, 2017 Posted by | legal, Queensland | Leave a comment

Adani to make $billions out of rail line, NOT coal mine – Pauline Hanson is right

Pauline Hanson says no to Adani train line, Pauline Hanson has scuppered the mine line being held by Indian multinational, The Age , Amy Remeiki , 2 June 17, 
Pauline Hanson has told the Turnbull government to build the billion-dollar Galilee Basin coal line itself, announcing she would oppose a “foreign multi-national” from owning the crucial infrastructure.

The rail corridor, which would run from the central Queensland coal basin to the Abbot Point port on the state’s coast, has been deemed a key feature of Indian mining company Adani moving forward with its project.

But the One Nation leader, who has maintained support for the mining project itself, said she had asked Resources Minister Matt Canavan to build the line “as a piece of national infrastructure”.

“This approved rail corridor will eventually connect to the national line, so it should be owned by the Australian people, not a foreign multi-national,” she said in a statement.

“This railway could make the Australian people hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Adani are here to build a coal mine, not a gold mine.

“This is a railroad that should belong to the people. We should build it, own it, control it and make sure no future government can give it away.”

The rail corridor is seen as a crucial piece of infrastructure in opening the Galilee Basin up to mining, with both GVK Hancock and Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal having earmarked projects in the region……

June 2, 2017 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Solar power plant for Northern Territory Aboriginal community -cuts reliance on diesel

NT aboriginal community to get 1MW solar plant, cut reliance on diesel, REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath on 1 June 2017  One Step Off The Grid

A remote Aboriginal community south of Darwin in the Northern Territory will soon be powered mostly by the sun, thanks to a hybrid solar and diesel generation plant being built as part of the Territory government’s SETuP program.

The Daly River project will see the construction of a 1MW solar facility, that is expected to provide 100 per cent of the local Nauiyu community’s energy needs during the day, relegating the diesel generators for use only at night and as back-up…….

…to read the full story on One Step Off The Grid, click here

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Northern Territory, solar | Leave a comment

Rome Climate Conference Hijacked by Climate Science Deniers 

UN, EU Agencies Reject Ties to Conference Hijacked by Climate Science Deniers

The organizers, India-based ConferenceSeries, promise their “4th World Conference on Climate Change” will attract “world class experts” from across the planet.

Anticipating “more than 500 participants,” the event claimed to have an organizing committee with representatives from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the European Space Agency, and the European Environment Agency (EEA).

But a DeSmog investigation reveals the event is being hijacked by a group of climate science deniers who have previously claimed they want to investigate climate scientists for fraud and have dismissed human-caused climate change as a hoax.

Since being contacted by DeSmog, both the WMO and the EEA have issued statements distancing themselves from the three-day conference, scheduled to start on October 19.

ConferenceSeries, also known as OMICS, promotes hundreds of meetings around the world and is behind the logistics and promotion for the Italy conference. In August 2016 the U.S. government’s Federal Trade Commission launched court action against the company, alleging deceptive marketing practices. The case is ongoing.

Two members of the Italy conference “organizing committee” — Nils-Axel Mörner and Franco Maranzana — were also organizers of a meeting for climate science deniers in London in September 2016.

Both are also founding members of a self-styled Independent Committee on Geoethics (ICG) — a group that, according to another founder Lord Christopher Monckton, was established to investigate climate scientists for fraud.

Seven presenters, including Monckton and Mörner, and one organizer of that London meeting, Maranzana, are also scheduled to speak at the Rome event.  Continue reading

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fossil fuel generators manipulating Australia’s energy prices

Regulators’ wake up call: Fossil fuel majors are gaming markets, REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 1 June 2017  Australian regulators are finally waking up to the grim consequences of Australia’s archaic energy market design, and the fallout from the reckless and self-serving opposition to carbon pricing and renewable energy targets by the industry incumbents.

The Australian Energy Regulator’s latest State of the Energy Market report paints a frightening picture of how prices are controlled, manipulated and thrust into orbit by the cynical bidding practices of the major fossil fuel generators.

Consumers – both households and business – are paying the price, and they are faced with a double whammy, because as the Queensland Competition Regulator notes in its latest pricing report, it is the lack of renewable energy in the state which is allowing the coal and gas generators to set high prices.

This last bit of information is highly ironic, because the QCA, under the then leadership of Malcolm Roberts (not the Senator, but the current head of the main oil and gas lobby APPEA) was among those who used to rail against solar feed in tariffs and the like.

The then Queensland energy minister Mark McArdle argued that renewable energy would cause energy prices to surge. In fact, as anyone who was paying attention would have predicted, the opposite has turned out to be true……..

The market power of major fossil fuel generators and their bidding practices have been highlighted in the AER’s State of the Energy Market report released this week, and is yet more confirmation about the poor design of market rules which leaves the regulator powerless to act.

The report acknowledges that the problem stems largely from the decision to allow generators and retailers to form so-called “gentailers”.

This has helped those big companies protect their own revenues through hedging, but also create an oligopoly that the AER says has posed a “potential barrier to entry” to new generators and retailers.

AGL Energy, Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia, it notes, supply 70 per cent of retail electricity customers in the NEM and have expanded their market share in generation capacity from 15 per cent in 2009 to 48 per cent in 2017. In some states, control of generation lies in the hands of just two or three major players.

This market dominance has reached such levels that it is the bidding practices of the generators – rather than the ratio of renewables or even soaring gas prices – that is having the major impact on prices that consumers pay…….

June 2, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

With cheaper solar power, India now rethinking coal projects

Cheaper Solar in India Prompts Rethink for Coal Projects, Bloomberg, by  Anindya Upadhyay and Rajesh Kumar Singh June 1, 2017, 

  • Power from solar panels now half the cost of a new coal plant
  • Shift in electricity economics helps Modi’s goal on pollution

India’s coal-power plant developers are growing more pessimistic about their projects after a plunge in the cost of electricity from solar panels improved the economics of renewable energy.

After a string of federal auctions, solar is suddenly the cheapest source of electricity in India. That’s darkening the outlook for the coal-fired power industry as projects struggle to find customers or face cancellation amid a glut of capacity.

“The crashing solar tariffs are creating a mental block for distribution companies and holding them back from signing long-term purchase agreements with conventional power producers,” said T. Adi Babu, chief operating officer for finance at Lanco Infratech Ltd., an Indian power producer. “A couple of years back, when people talked of solar reaching grid parity, people were skeptical. Now the solar tariffs have gone well below that. It is definitely making conventional players sit up and take notice.”……

evidence of a shift away from coal is gathering by the day.

  • State-run NTPC Ltd., India’s largest power producer, along with RattanIndia Power Ltd. are considering installing solar panels over land initially intended for thermal projects.
  • NTPC said in February it’s aiming to have 30 percent of its capacity come from non-fossil fuel by 2032
  • The Indian subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed CLP Holdings Ltd., which owns both coal and renewable projects, is debating whether to participate in another round of conventional projects. “A transition from coal to solar is a generic direction that all utilities are taking. We are an early mover into the renewables space so our journey continues,” Mahesh Makhija, business-development director for renewables, said in a phone interview.
  • The government of the sunny state of Rajasthan expects more conventional power to be replaced by clean energy as higher renewable purchase targets are fulfilled. “At the rate the renewable power tariffs are decreasing, the time is not far when renewable power will start replacing costlier conventional power,” Sanjay Malhotra, principal secretary for energy in the Rajasthan government, said by phone.

Solar is now as much as 50 percent cheaper than new coal power, according to solar research firm Bridge to India.

“That’s why we have seen many new coal power tenders being suspended or canceled in the last three months,” said Vinay Rustagi, managing director at Bridge to India…….

renewables are expanding quickly in India. Solar capacity has surged fourfold since December 2014 to about 12 gigawatts, while wind farms now provide 32 gigawatts, up from 22.5 gigawatts over the same period. Modi is seeking an additional 88 gigawatts of solar and 28 gigawatts more of wind by 2022. And those projects are crowding coal out of the power market…….

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Josh Frydenberg predicts ‘big battles’ within Coalition after Finkel review

Energy minister says market needs signal to kickstart new investment in thermal generation to help stabilise the grid, Guardian, Katharine Murphy, 31 May 17, The energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, says the looming Finkel review will recommend a new policy signal driving investment in a “broad suite of generation capacity”, which, if implemented, will restore confidence in Australia’s electricity sector.

But he also foreshadowed a hard road ahead. Referencing the climate wars of the past decade, noting that energy policy had “destroyed two prime ministers and one opposition leader”, Frydenberg predicted “big battles” both within the Coalition – and potentially within Labor – and externally with stakeholders, as the government seeks to land a new policy.

Frydenberg told an economic thinktank in Canberra on Wednesday the final Finkel review, which will be presented to the Council of Australian Governments next Friday, would help “land some sort of position to create that signal for investment in a broad suite of generation capacity”…….

Frydenberg’s comments are consistent with a widespread expectation among key industry groups that the chief scientist will use his looming report to recommend the government adopt a new low-emissions target, which would work in practice as a technology-neutral renewable energy target (RET)……

June 2, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment