Australian news, and some related international items

22,000 becquerels of plutonium-239 and 220 becquerels of americium-241 found in lungs of nuclear facility worker

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

Oarai  .jpg

No one has inhaled this much plutonium’: 5 staff exposed to radiation in Japan lab accident

Japanese authorities are unsure about the medical prognosis for five staffers who inhaled toxic plutonium after mishandling it at the Oarai Research and Development Center outside Tokyo.

As far as I can remember, no one has inhaled plutonium at this level,” said Ishikawa Keiji, a security official at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) which oversees the lab, cited by the Jiji Press news agency.

The accident occurred at 11:15am on Tuesday in the analysis room of the facility dedicated to researching improved nuclear fuel for its fast reactors.

One of the five men opened a metallic cylinder where the fuel, a mixture of uranium and plutonium, is stored before and after experiments. In the process, the double plastic wrapping inside which the radioactive material is kept ripped, and the toxic substance…

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June 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senator Scott Ludlam asks some inconvenient questions on the cleanup of the Ranger uranium mine

Environment and Communications Legislation Committee 23/05/2017 Estimates
Clean Energy Regulator

Full Transcript:;adv=yes;orderBy=customrank;page=0;query=Dataset%3AcomSen,estimate%20Dataset_Phrase%3A%22estimate%22%20CommitteeName_Phrase%3A%22environment%20and%20communications%20legislation%20committee%22%20Questioner_Phrase%3A%22ludlam,%20sen%20scott%22;rec=5;resCount=Default

CHAIR: I welcome the Office of the Supervising Scientist.

Senator LUDLAM: I understand that ERA is in the process of starting to get on with closing the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu and have notified stakeholders—presumably including yourselves—that they are intending to vary the way that they are depositing the tailings back into pit 3, and that they are proposing to change from an aerial tailings deposition to subaqueous deposition. For the non-specialists, could you describe maybe in plain English the difference in technique they are proposing.

Mr Tayler : The previous tailings deposition methodology had tailings being dredged from the tailings dam and tailings coming from the mill being deposited onto a beach, essentially. The new methodology that ERA is proposing involves depositing tailings through water; hence the subaqueous versus subaerial. Essentially, it was being put onto a tailings beach; the new method will be depositing it through the water column itself.

Senator LUDLAM: Is the decommissioning of the mine being treated as a nuclear action under the EPBC Act?

Mr Tayler : No.

Senator LUDLAM: Can you describe for us why not?

Mr Tayler : I would prefer that questions specific to the EPBC Act were directed to the Environmental Standards Division, or we could take it on notice if that is okay.

Senator LUDLAM: I think that is fair enough. If you can take it on notice, but I guess the answer is not going to come from you, is it? I think we have already let these people go.

Mr Tayler : Yes, it is a legal point, and I would not want to comment on that in case I got it wrong.

Senator LUDLAM: That is fine. I understand there is an interception trench, which intersects the saline plume coming out from under the tailings storage facility. We have been asking your predecessors in this office for years about this. My understanding is that ERA is currently monitoring that plume of saline water. There is a certain amount of dewatering that is being done. How long is it expected that monitoring and dewatering operations would continue beyond 2020?

Mr Tayler : In relation to the seepage—

Senator LUDLAM: In 2026, I beg your pardon. In relation to the monitoring of that saline plume and the dewatering.

Mr Tayler : Specifically related to the tailings dam?

Senator LUDLAM: Yes.

Mr Tayler : That is not information that we currently have. It is on ERA’s work program to conduct some detailed groundwater modelling of the TSF footprint. The TSF will not be decommissioned for several years yet, so I could not give you a specific answer to that question at this time.

Senator LUDLAM: When is the expected decommissioning date for the tailings storage facility?

Mr Tayler : I would have to take that on notice for the exact date. I believe it was towards the end of the rehabilitation process, which would put it in the 2024-25 period, but I will confirm that for you.

Senator LUDLAM: I will tell you what the purpose of these questions is: we have a plume of saline water that ERA was a bit reluctant to concede even existed, seeping out from under the dam, carrying goodness knows what other processed chemicals and radionuclides and whatever with it. We have the company with interception trenches, possibly bores, trying to get a sense of how much water is falling out the bottom of the TSF. We have an interception trench which is allowing them to remove some of that water and presumably process it and clean it up. That is a very active process of maintenance. How long is it anticipated to last?

Mr Tayler : Yes, I understand the question. At this stage, I do not have sufficient information to answer that question.

Senator LUDLAM: In terms of a yes/no. Is that because you do not have it at the table or you do not think that knowledge exists at this time?

Mr Tayler : I do not think that knowledge exists at this time. We need ERA to complete some proposed groundwater modelling. That will model the movement of that plume. That will give some indication of how long that plume will take to move, how long it will take to dilute and what management, if any management, will be required. That work has not yet been undertaken.

Senator LUDLAM: It is 2017. How does the ERA not know that already? I have been asking about this for about eight years, and this was an issue way before I came along.

Mr Tayler : Operationally, I think the issue has been quite well managed. We can provide an update on that if that would be helpful. From a long-term closure sense, the focus has been on looking at the groundwater impacts from the pits. Further work is still required on quantifying exactly what is beneath the TSF and what that may look like in the future.

Senator LUDLAM: So they still do not really know what is coming out from underneath the dam?

Mr Tayler : In an operational sense, we know very well exactly what is moving now. How that will behave over the long term into the future is not yet quantified.

Senator LUDLAM: Could you provide us with an estimate of how much water is seeping out from under the TSF every year? We have had order of magnitude estimates going back a couple of years.

Mr Tayler : For the whole dam? I would have to take that on notice.

Senator LUDLAM: Thank you. What I am trying to find out is whether that process is still going to be underway beyond 2026 or if it is within the company’s work plan that it is all well and truly done.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Turnbull government ignoring new government in South Korea

Given that there is new leadership in Seoul, Canberra needs to review its stance on North Korea and discuss it with the Moon administration.

Calling North Korea’s nuclear program a threat to Australia isn’t going to solve the North Korean problem.

It’s time for Australia to review its Korea policy and take South Korea more seriously.

Turnbull’s policy towards North Korea crucially ignores South Korea, Guardian,  Continue reading

June 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | Leave a comment

ABC explains Australia’s new major energy review – the Finkel Report

Finkel report: Major review of Australia’s energy sector explained, ABC News 9 June 17 By national science and technology reporter Jake Sturmer “”…….So you might have heard about this big government report called the Finkel review.

Basically, it is chief scientist Alan Finkel’s plan for the future of the National Electricity Market.

That market is how most states — Queensland, New South Wales (including the Australian Capital Territory), Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania — get their power.

Right now, 87 per cent of the electricity going into that market comes from fossil fuels — a percentage that scientists say needs to fall a lot if the planet is to avoid dangerous climate change.

It is mostly high-emission brown and black coal (77 per cent) with gas making up the remainder (10 per cent). The other 13 per cent of the total comes from renewable energy…….

What does the report recommend?

It is suggesting a clean energy target.

That is basically a rule that forces companies selling electricity to us to provide a set percentage of power from low emissions technology, like renewables or efficient gas.

Coal power can be considered too — but only if it is coupled with carbon capture.

Right now that is very expensive and unlikely to be seen in the short term.

The cost is likely to be passed on to us as consumers — think of it as opting for a percentage of green energy on your power bill.

So what does the benchmark of 700kg of CO2 per megawatt hour of electricity, recommended by the report, actually mean?

Essentially, if a generator produces electricity that emits less than 700kg of carbon dioxide per unit of electricity (measured in megawatt hours: MWh) they get part of a credit, which they can then sell to retailers.

One of the dirtiest power stations in the nation — EnergyAustralia’s brown coal Yallourn plant in Victoria — emits 1,272kg per MWh and even a brand new ultra-supercritical black coal plant emits 760kg per MWh.

So coal is effectively ruled out.

That leaves credits going to the most efficient gas turbines — which produce around 400kg/MWh — and renewables, which emit no carbon.

The low emissions target (LET) essentially acts as a carrot that forces retailers to buy cleaner energy, promoting renewables into the market, eventually squeezing out older, more polluting coal plants.

That is, if the Government accepts the benchmark — and it also depends on what percentage of cleaner electricity it forces retailers to buy.

What about an ’emissions intensity scheme’?

Another alternative is an emissions intensity scheme (EIS). That is favoured by almost all industries and even government bodies like the Climate Change Authority and Australian Energy Market Commission. An EIS would hit the power stations themselves and would set limits on the volume of greenhouse gases they can emit: if they go over, they have to buy credits from lower-emitting power stations.

It is both a carrot and a stick — it is an incentive to opt for cleaner energy and a penalty for those who do not.

Generators that have high emissions like coal may have to purchase low emissions credits from renewable generators to bring them below their target.Most industries — including the electricity generators themselves — actually support an EIS….

June 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Coal-fired power on the way out in Australia

Dark future ahead for coal-fired power in Australia, 9 June 17 AUSTRALIA’S Chief Scientist has predicted a dark future ahead for coal-fired power in coming years and says the country’s not prepared.

AAP AUSTRALIA’S reliance on coal to generate electricity will diminish as conventional power plants reach their use-by date, the country’s chief scientist says.

But the existing market is not equipped to deal with the transition and, if not addressed soon, could impact reliability and security.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel briefed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and state premiers in Hobart on Friday on his 212-page report into Australia’s electricity market.

He said Australia’s coal fleet is old and coming towards the end of its design life. He predicts generation will decline over the next 30 years…..

Large generators are likely to be replaced by a number of smaller plants, as the cost of wind, large-scale solar, and new gas-fired generators rapidly declines. However, the existing framework “is not well suited to co-ordinating the transition ahead”.

Dr Finkel’s report found pressure could be taken off power prices and reliability of electricity improved if governments can agree on a new national energy policy…….

“Participation is based on low emissions, not technology type,” Dr Finkel said in the report.

“There are no prohibitions, just incentives. It puts downward pressure on prices by bringing that new electricity generation into the market at lowest cost without prematurely displacing existing low-cost generators.”

Reliability could also be improved, and power bills pushed down, by rewarding consumers for playing their part in reducing demand and putting in place their own technologies such as battery storage and rooftop solar, he said.

It is estimated there are more than 1.44 million rooftop solar photovoltaic systems across Australia, with generation expected to rise by 350 per cent over the next 20 years.

Battery storage is expected to take off in popularity, with around 100,000 systems set to be installed nationwide by 2020.

Dr Finkel said the overwhelming message he had received while undertaking the review was a call for a “single, nationally agreed plan to manage the transition to a lower emissions economy”.

“Stakeholders argued that business as usual is not an option. Policy reversals and piecemeal government interventions undermine investor confidence,” he wrote.

Mr Turnbull has said state and federal governments will report back in August as to how Dr Finkel’s findings can be implemented…..


The new clean energy target — which would provide incentives to low emission generators to enter the market — would replace the existing renewable energy target from 2020, and the federal, state and territory governments would agree to a national emissions reduction trajectory.

Dr Finkel said investors in coal with carbon capture and storage technology could receive incentives under the CET.

But he expected coal-fired generation would decline over the coming three decades and new investment in it was unlikely to be made.


• All governments need to agree on an emissions reduction trajectory and implement a mechanism to drive clean energy investment

• The recommended mechanism is a Clean Energy Target, the most effective way to cut emissions and support energy security/reliability

• Low emission generation like wind and gas will be incentivised but no penalties for high emission generation

• New generators obliged to ensure adequate capacity to meet consumer demand

• Big electricity generators required to give three years’ notice of closure to allow investor/community planning

• A new integrated grid plan to inform investment and ensure energy security with significant investment decisions between states or regions to be made from a system-wide perspective

• A new Energy Security Board to deliver the plan and provide oversight, reporting on performance annually

• Financial rewards for consumers for reducing demand and sharing their resources, eg rooftop solar panels.


July 2017: Next meeting of COAG Energy Council expected to agree to new Energy Security Board.

September 2017: Australian Energy Market Operator to publish a review of its summer forecast and how it is preparing for the seasonal spike in demand. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to publish a preliminary report into electricity supply and prices.

Mid-2018: Energy market regulation reviews completed and new reliability guarantee adopted. Australian Energy Market Operator given a last resort power to have gas-fired generators available in emergency situations. ACCC to publish final report on prices and supply.

Mid-2019: Report on workforce needs for the energy sector.

By 2020: All governments agree to a national emissions reduction strategy, taking Australia to 2050.

Mid-2020: Complexities removed to enable consumers to share their energy data and play a more informed role in energy grid.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | 1 Comment

Australia should not mindlessly copy USA policy on North Korea

We need only look back to 2003 to see the dangers of a PM who, bedazzled by the power of our ally and its ignorant and reckless leader, overlooked the wishes and wisdom of his own people. Trump has made our need for independent thinking even more urgent.

Australia’s Double-Standard When It Comes To Regional Security Has Gone Nuclear, Australia has defended US nuclear weapons and our own reliance on them, as if a nuclear apartheid is the natural order of things., Margaret BeavisPresident of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia),Sue WarehamVice-President, Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) 07/06/2017    If there’s one thing we should have learnt by now, it’s how easily a heavily-armed world can sleepwalk into disastrous wars that settle nothing, are much harder to stop than to start, and cause unimaginable human suffering.

 As tensions simmer between the US and North Korea, we in Australia have every reason to reject warmongering, brinkmanship and punitive measures, and to pursue every possible effort to help stabilise the Korean peninsula.

The current tensions are fueled by mutual provocations and the volatile temperaments of two unpredictable and dangerous heads of state. However, they are also fueled by blatant double-standards, to which Australia contributes.

 While we have been quick to condemn — for good reason — North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and all the steps taken to strengthen it, Australia has defended US nuclear weapons and our own reliance on them, as if a nuclear apartheid is the natural order of things.

On 26 April and again on 3 May, as rhetoric against North Korea ramped up, the US tested Minuteman ICBM nuclear launch missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Australia was silent. The US Congressional Budget Office estimates an expenditure of US$400 billion over the next decade on modernising the country’s nuclear forces.

A strong majority of nations have declared that nuclear weapons should never be used again, under any circumstances. Australia has refused to support this declaration. By thus promoting the notion that nuclear weapons have a legitimate role — a notion that is rightly seen by most countries as discriminatory, provocative and dangerous — Australia has forfeited any right to preach disarmament to North Korea. Continue reading

June 9, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Adani ‘investment decision’ meaningless without Indigenous consent

 Federal Court sets date for W&J litigation against Adani’s sham ILUA for March 2018

Native Title Bill still to pass, but won’t stop court action
On the day the Federal Court sets a hearing date for Traditional Owners fighting Adani’s proposed coal mine,
the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) Traditional Owners Council has labelled
Adani’s announcement in Townsville as disingenuous.

Senior spokesperson for the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J)Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, says

““Adani can put on whatever song and dance they like but the reality is that we have never consented to Adani’s mine being constructed on our land.

““The company and the Queensland Government do not have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with our people.
We are fighting this mine of mass destruction, and no matter what the Senate does in its next sitting in terms of voting for the Native Title Bill, the Federal Court will hear our case against Adani’s phony deal.”

““Adani is going nowhere fast. They have no money for their project, and they don’t have the crucial Traditional Owners’ consent they need to build it. We have them in the Federal Court until March 2018 at least.”

“Members of the Wangan and Jagalingou Registered Native Title Claimant are currently in the Federal Court seeking to strike out Adani’s purported Indigenous Land Use Agreement [ILUA],
filed by Adani Mining with the National Native Title Tribunal.
An ILUA has been opposed by the native title claim group on three occasions since 2012.

Youth spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Ms Murrawah Johnson,
giving a keynote address at the National Native Title Conference in Townsville tomorrow, says

““Adani’s approach seems to be ‘fake it until you make it’, but
the reality is that they can’t and won’t proceed in the face of our resistance”. …

June 9, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Finkel Report does not measure up for Australia’s Paris climate commitments 

Alan Finkel’s emissions target breaks Australia’s Paris commitments Chief scientist’s report flies in the face of previous recommendations on reducing electricity emissions, Guardian,  Michael Slezak, Friday 9 June 2017

Less than two weeks ago, Alan Finkel told the Senate his landmark report would help Australia meet the commitments it made in Paris to reduce its economy-wide emissions by 28% below 2005 levels by 2030.

But his recommendations on the future of the National Electricity Market, released today, appear to fly in the face of those very commitments. Before Senate estimates Finkel said: “We are very cognisant of the commitment that the nation has made through the Paris accords.

“We absolutely need to deal with the issue of ensuring that the electricity sector can do its fair share in helping the nation to meet its obligations under the Paris accord – the COP21 accord.”

Now today, his landmark review of the National Electricity Market has modelled cuts to emissions of the electricity sector that are the same as what the entire economy needs to do: 28% below 2005 levels by 2050. He said anything deeper, which had been suggested in other reports, would cause problems.

 Finkel suggested those cuts should be achieved with a “clean energy target” – which is equivalent to what has been called a Low Emissions Target. The result by 2030 will be one where renewables are responsible for just 42% of electricity generation.

But what is the electricity sector’s fair share?

Well it’s a lot more than that recommended by Finkel’s report.

How do we know it needs to be higher? We can look at a report from the Climate Change Authority, that Finkel himself co-wrote, that examined how much the electricity sector needed to do.

After examining several scenarios for meeting Australia’s emissions reduction targets, it concluded: “The common finding is that the electricity sector can contribute deep, cost-effective emissions reductions as part of national action to meet global temperature goals.”

The electricity sector has to do much of the heavy lifting for several reasons.

  • it’s the biggest source of carbon emissions – producing more than a third of the country’s total.
  • many other industries can’t easily reduce emissions – it’s very hard to reduce the emissions from the agriculture sector, for example.
  • decarbonising the electricity sector will help other sectors decarbonise – for example, if cars stop using petrol and shift to electricity, we will need the electricity system to be low-emissions in order to see an actual reduction in emissions.

That last point was made by the Climate Change Authority report. “Substantial decarbonisation of electricity supply can facilitate emissions reductions in other sectors, as electricity can displace their direct use of fossil fuels,” it said.

But in his report today, Finkel said any deeper cuts could be problematic. “The adoption of a more ambitious target would have larger consequences for energy security as such a target would likely see a higher level of [variable renewable energy] incentivised,” Finkel wrote.

Bill Hare, the a leading climate scientist and CEO at Climate Analytics has spent a lot of time modelling precisely this issue

“From a scientific perspective this is quite shocking because the almost universal consensus from the modelling exercises for how to achieve the Paris agreement has the power sector doing a lot more than the rest of the economy everywhere in the world,” Hare said.

“I think this conclusion appears to have been crafted to fit with the politics of the present government rather than the science and understanding of these systems,” he said.

Hare said he doesn’t know of any work globally that supports Finkel’s claim that deeper cuts to emissions will put the system’s reliability or security at risk.

Dylan McConnell from Melbourne University said an additional problem with having shallow cuts in emissions in the electricity sector, was that it was the cheapest place to make the cuts – so the overall cost to the economy of meeting our Paris commitments will be more expensive…….

June 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy | Leave a comment

Australians overwhelmingly want govts to favour renewable energy, even if it costs more

Australians want focus on renewables not coal, Lowy poll find, The Age, Peter Hannam, 7 June 17,  Australians overwhelmingly want governments to favour renewable energy over fossil fuels even if it costs more, and concerns about climate change are strengthening, a new Lowy Institute poll finds.

The survey of 1202 adults during the first three weeks of March found 81 per cent of respondents wanted policymakers to focus on clean energy sources such as wind and solar, even if it costs more to ensure grid reliability.

Just 17 per cent backed a focus on “traditional energy sources such as coal and gas even if this means the environment may suffer to some extent”.

The finding was one of Lowy’s highest results for a two-option answer and “somewhat surprising” since the poll was conducted soon after blackouts in wind-power dominated South Australia and the heatwave that stretched power supplies in coal-dependent NSW, said Alex Oliver, Lowy’s polling director. ……

June 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Dennis Matthews on  “STATE OF THE ENERGY MARKET Australian Energy Regulator May 2017”

 Retired coal generators are being replaced (but not by other coal generators) by private investment in (on-grid) wind and (off-grid) solar generators.

Dennis Matthews, 9 June 17 Comments on  “STATE OF THE ENERGY MARKET Australian Energy Regulator  May 2017”

INTRODUCTION   This is a very informative report but it has a few features that detract from its overall impact.

The report is about energy, specifically electrical energy and gas. I will comment on only the electricity sections of the report. Continue reading

June 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Space for more wind farms in Tassie

TASMANIA has the capacity to support two or three more wind farms before it needs to invest in its electricity transmission infrastructure, energy analysts say.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | Tasmania, wind | Leave a comment

Carbon tax, Emissions trading scheme, Emissions intensity scheme, Low emissions target – What Does It All Mean?

Low emissions target: On carbon schemes, no one says the same thing for long 8 June 17

 Peter Martin  If you don’t know the difference between a carbon tax and an emissions trading scheme, or a low emissions target and an emissions intensity scheme, it’s time to wise up.

On Friday Malcolm Turnbull gets the report of the Finkel review of the electricity market and later this year the report of the official review of his government’s climate change policies.

What he does next will affect how much we pay, how much we use, the types of electricity we use, how quickly we cut emissions and how often the system breaks down.

But if we don’t even know what the words mean, we’ll be in the dark So here’s a quick (opinionated) guide. And a warning: no one seems to say the same thing for long.

Carbon tax: It had the advantage of being simple, so simple that Tony Abbott actually backed it in his early days as opposition leader before reversing course and opposing it, and being swept to power.

 “If you want to put a price on carbon, why not just do it with a simple tax?” he asked back then. “It would be burdensome, all taxes are burdensome, but it could certainly raise the price of carbon, without in any way increasing the overall tax burden.”

It’s what Julia Gillard did, and was martyred for. Exemptions from the tax and overcompensation in the form of income tax cuts and direct payments meant every cent it raised was handed back. And it cut emissions. Each year for more than a century through two world wars and the great depression Australia had used more electricity than the year before, until the lead-up to the carbon tax when both electricity use and electricity emissions began to fall and then fell sharply until mid-2014 when the tax was abolished by Abbott himself.

Turnbull gets the argument for the tax. “If you want people to do less of something, you tax it,” was how he described another measure during the 2016 election campaign.

Emissions trading scheme: It’s like a carbon tax (in fact, the carbon tax was designed to transition into one) except that it uses carrots as well as sticks. The government issues a limited number of pollution permits, but then leaves the polluters free to buy and sell them from each other. If one manages to cut emissions easily and no longer needs its permits it can sell them to another who needs them more, perhaps for a profit. It means the market sets the price of the permits, and the price is no higher than it needs to be.

US President George H. W. Bush issued tradeable sulphur dioxide pollution permits to cheaply halve the incidence of acid rain. In his last days in office John Howard promised to use tradeable permits to cheaply meet Australia’s carbon emission reduction obligations. Kevin Rudd got to work on the details with the then opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, then Turnbull was rolled, the Greens said no, and Rudd baulked at taking the plan to an election. It would be painted as a big new tax. Voters would remember the electricity price hike but not the compensating tax cut, as Gillard later discovered.

Emissions intensity scheme: Long championed by Turnbull and independent Nick Xenophon and Greg Hunt as environment minister, an intensity trading scheme would have the advantage of raising no money whatsoever, and not pushing up prices much. Each industry would be given a “baseline” for its emissions intensity. For the electricity industry it would be a certain number of tonnes emitted per megawatt-hour produced. Plants that were above the baseline would have to buy permits from plants that were below it. As a result coal-fired plants would become more expensive to run and get less business, and gas and wind-powered plants would become cheaper and get more. All without anything that looked like a tax.

Critics say it would give gas a leg-up when what’s needed is to move straight to renewables. This year Turnbull ruled it out partly because it could be presented as the emissions trading scheme he promised not to introduce. The real downside is that it wouldn’t be an emissions trading scheme. By not moving prices much, it would do little to reduce electricity demand, working only on the sources of supply.

Low emissions target: Described by the Climate Change Authority as a second-best alternative to its preferred option of an intensity scheme, a low emissions target would operate pretty much in the same way as the current renewable energy target. Electricity suppliers would be required to source a certain proportion of their power from renewables or other very low emission sources such as highly-efficient gas or even coal plants, should they ever be built.

Its biggest drawback is that if it’s all there is, there’s no guarantee it won’t change. The government might be lobbied to weaken it (making lobbying a very cost-effective proposition) or another government might impose a grander scheme on top of it. Potential investors in new plants might be forgiven for holding back. Given the dizzying array of changes since Howard first proposed an emissions trading scheme 10 years ago, it would be hard to blame them.

Peter Martin is economics editor of The Age.

Follow Peter Martin on Twitter and Facebook

June 9, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy | Leave a comment

How much you’re paying for Adani’s polluting mine to save Turnbull and Palaszczuk’s jobs

Crikey, Bernard Keane, 7 June 17  It wasn’t so long ago we were told it would cost too much to save jobs in car manufacturing, now we’re spending even more per job on a mine that will damage the Great Barrier Reef….. (subscribers only)

June 9, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Tesla charge points for electric cars being installed in Stockland shopping centres

Stockland to install Tesla charge points at 31 shopping centres across Australia, The Age 8 June 17  Carolyn Cummins
When visiting a Stockland shopping centre, customers will soon not only say “charge it” when making a purchase, they’ll also be able to keep their electric car fully firing…….

Other retail mall owners are rolling out similar programs, with GPT Group offering chargers for electric cars at its Rouse Hill town centre, and Wollongong Central, NSW. Vicinity Centres has installed chargers at Chadstone in Melbourne.

Stockland chief executive, commercial, John Schroder said in the ever-changing retail landscape, technology was increasingly critical to drive innovation, efficiency and engagement with customers….

Just one hour connected to a Tesla Destination Charger provides up to 110 kilometres of range,” he said.

“We know EV vehicles are part of the future and we look forward to offering more features like this to meet continuing Australian demand.”

Stockland already has 17 free Charge Point facilities in 10 locations throughout Australia, including Stockland Cammeray and Stockland Balgowlah. These Chargepoints can be used for all EV vehicles.

Stockland will continue to roll out both Chargepoint and Tesla Destination Chargers across its centres to support the growth in EV Vehicles in Australia.”

And with the move by Tesla to deliver its first cheaper Model 3 electric saloons, there will be more demand for chargers across all shopping centres and in the future, offices, hotels and residential towers.

Stockland will install the chargers in centres ranging from Cairns to Balgowlah, Cammeray and Green Hills, in NSW and the The Pines, Traralgon in country Victoria……

June 9, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment